It’s the Third Saturday in October, the annual Alabama/Tennessee rivalry game. The Crimson Tide have not lost to the Volunteers in a decade, but Tennessee fans feel like this is the year (after all they finally broke the streak against Florida). Both teams come into this game having outstanding seasons with the Tide at 6-0 and the Vols at 5-1, both ranked in the AP Top 10. Is this finally the year for the Vols or will the Tide keep rolling?
For whatever reason, Tennessee seems to keep finding ways to win after going down big in the first half. Even though their luck finally ran out against Texas A&M last week they came back from a 21 point deficit to force overtime. This is made all the more remarkable when you consider that the Vols have been missing quite a few key players for some time with Cam Sutton out for an extended period of time, Jaylen Reeves-Maybin out for the year and Jalen Hurd not travelling for the Texas A&M game. Many Tennessee fans are questioning offensive coordinator Mike Debord’s game plan, as Josh Dobbs has been wholly ineffective in the first half, but has come alive in the second half of each game. While the Vols are no longer undefeated, they still have a very good chance to make it to the SEC Championship game (and possibly the College Football Playoff) and a win against Alabama would all but lock that up.
Alabama is right where everybody with a brain expected them to be: undefeated and #1 in the nation. They’ve only been tested once this season in a 48-43 win against Ole Miss. Many felt that the Tide could have had trouble against Arkansas last week, but it was a comfortable 19 point win over the Razorbacks (though it should have been more as the Tide gave up a TD on the final play of the game, which Nick Saban was not happy about). This is the second of at least three straight games against ranked opponents, with an undefeated Texas A&M rolling into Tuscaloosa next week. A loss to the Vols would be a real bummer for Bama fans, but it would not be crippling as they would still be in very good shape to make it to the SEC Championship Game and as we’ve seen each of the last two seasons, a one loss Alabama team is going to the College Football Playoff. But don’t think for a minute that the Tide and Nick Saban are approaching it that way.
- College football rivalry games have always been noted for interesting rivalry trophies and this rivalry is no different as the winner of this game gets a box of Victory Cigars.
- Since Nick Saban’s first year at Alabama in 2007, this game has only been decided by 7 points or fewer two times: 2009 when Alabama won 12-10 and last year when Alabama won 19-14.
- The very first meeting between these two teams in 1901 ended in a 6-6 tie at halftime because the crowd had come onto the field and officials were unable to remove them.
Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, TN
Alabama leads 52-38-7
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, AL
Current AP Ranking
Next Games Up
Alabama vs. Texas A&M
Tennessee – Bye Week