The dawn of the 21st Century didn’t play kindly to the Alabama Crimson Tide in their rivalry with the Tennessee Volunteers. The Vols opened up the new millennium by winning five of the first seven meetings between the two programs, and also stretched what was a seven-game winning streak over the Tide into the 2000s, dating back to 1995.
But once Nick Saban came to town, that all changed. Saban’s Tide haven’t lost to the team from Knoxville once. What might be more impressive is the sheer dominance in these showings. Only two times has the MOV for Alabama been less than double digits. The most memorable of those came thanks to Mt. Cody, and a five-point victory back in 2015 over the Vols in Tuscaloosa.
Other than that, we’re talking wins of at least 20 points or more in 11 of the 13 previous meetings. The gap between the two teams has to be maddening for Tennessee fans, even though historically this has been a rivalry that Alabama has held firm in. It’s just that it was at .500 back in 2006, and now the Tide own the series 57-37-7.
Saturday’s meeting figures to be one in the same unless Tennessee can pull a stunner off. Alabama is led by Mac Jones and his dynamo dossier of weaponry. From the force of Najee Harris to the speed of Jaylen Waddle; the smoothness of DeVonta Smith to the burgeoning reliability of John Metchie III; Alabama’s offense is a force to be reckoned with, and it’s making their deficiencies on defense pretty negligible.
Tennessee was looking to be pretty stout to start the year. Wins over the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Missouri Tigers had some confidence growing. But they were whomped by the Georgia Bulldogs two weeks ago and embarrassed by the Kentucky Wildcats last week. That confidence has thinned out, and Jarrett Guarantano, Josh Palmer and the Tennessee offense seems to have hit an absolute standstill. They averaged 3.4 and 4.3 yards per play in those aforementioned losses, this after putting up 6.1 and 5.7 YPP in their first two wins respectively.
Defensively, Tennessee hasn’t played too poorly. Their YPP of 5.3 is pretty meager, but it’s nothing outrageously bad. Their rushing defense has held pretty firm. The problems have certainly all come on offense, and if they fail to keep up with the joneses against ‘Bama, well, it’ll be another long afternoon for them come Saturday. It’s hard enough as it is to do all that as it is, quite frankly.
How to Watch
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT
Spread: Alabama -21.5