It has been nearly two decades since Tennessee won a national championship, and just as long since the school stood atop the SEC.

A return to such glory seems unimaginable at the moment. The Volunteers are coming off their first winless SEC season since joining the conference in 1933, and proving more embarrassing off the field, in the midst of a fruitless coaching search that led to the firing of athletic director John Currie.

But Peyton Manning remains confident his alma mater can become one of the country’s elite teams again.

“Obviously it’s been a difficult time, but I know what Tennessee is capable of being,” Manning said Tuesday upon being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. “It’s what it was when I was in school there. I’ve been a devout supporter and always will be and look forward to getting it back to where it was when I was back in school. It’s a great place.”