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Alabama Crimson Tide 34, Tennessee Volunteers 20: The Amari Cooper Show

The wide receiver put on a great show, particularly in the first quarter, as Tennessee burned a redshirt ahead of a stretch that will determine whether they go to the postseason

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama's first two scoring plays of its game against Tennessee on Saturday were an 80-yard touchdown throw to Amari Cooper and a 41-yard touchdown throw to Amari Cooper. Both happened within just a shade more than six minutes from when the game kicked off. And that's about all you need to know to know the outcome of the game.

To be sure, this was not a terrible game by Tennessee. The Volunteers gained 383 yards of total offense against Alabama, only 86 yards less than the Tide. The Vols had 21 first downs in the game, to 23 for Alabama. They had to burn Joshua Dobbs' redshirt to get the offense going -- Dobbs was 19-of-32 passing for 192 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while running for 75 yards on 19 carries -- and most of the yards and all of the points came after Alabama had piled up a 27-0 lead, but they did get the offense going eventually. There are four winnable games on the schedule, and if Worley isn't available for one or more of them, there's no reason not to go ahead and get Dobbs some playing time and maybe come closer to pulling off the upset.

The latter didn't really happen. Alabama's offense wasn't all Amari Cooper, but it was heavily so. He ended up with nine catches for 224 yards -- almost 47.8 percent of the Tide's total offensive yardage -- and the two touchdowns, giving him 71 catches for 1,132 yards and nine scores on the year. A ticket to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony might still be in his future, though wide receivers have an infamously difficult time winning the award and other SEC candidates like Dak Prescott, Josh Robinson and perhaps even Todd Gurley (if voters look past the autographing issue and suspension) could split the vote.

Overall, Alabama seems to have righted the ship after the loss to Ole Miss and the near-loss to Arkansas. The Tide beat Texas A&M and Tennessee by a combined margin of 93-20, and while the schedule is full of land mines (a trip to Baton Rouge and home games against Mississippi State and Auburn), the loss by Ole Miss means the Tide are still in the thick of the hunt for the SEC West. Taking control of this game early, and then milking the clock with a seven-minute drive late, made sure that things never got too interesting for the Tide and kept all those hopes alive.

For Tennessee, hope is the operative word. If Worley still can't go over the next few weeks, then Dobbs is at least a credible candidate to replace him. The Vols are now over the worst part of their schedule, and the next month will decide whether they go to a bowl or not. Burning a redshirt might very well be worth it -- and taking a few lumps against Alabama to help find the way forward definitely is.