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College Football: Alabama-Tennessee Preview

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It’s the Third Saturday in October.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Ah yes, the Third Saturday in October. It’s time for Alabama and Tennessee to meet once again. The rivalry dates all the way back to 1901 — and it’s pretty much run hot and cold for both sides ever since. This game is known for its streaks, with one team ripping off a chunk in a row, then another. Alabama is in the midst of potentially the longest of the series, however.

Tennessee hasn’t been able to get past Nick Saban since he arrived in Tuscaloosa. They’ve won ten in a row — and there’s little reason to believe they won’t cruise to eleven in a row on Saturday.

The Volunteers are limping into this one, fresh off a heartbreaker to South Carolina. They’re 0-3 in SEC play and Butch Jones’ seat is as hot as it can get. Nothing like getting Alabama on the schedule in the middle of all of that, right?

This series will correct itself one day. Tennessee’s decline began right when Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa, unfortunately. For now, it’s probably going to stay ugly for Tennessee.


Overview

  • This will be the 100th meeting between the two schools.
  • Alabama leads the series 54-38-7.
  • Alabama has won ten in a row, dating back to Nick Saban’s first year with the Tide. ‘Bama could match a series best 11 wins in a row with a win on Saturday.
  • Largest margin of victory: 51-0, Alabama (1906)
  • Current line (as of Thursday): Alabama -35.5

Alabama Impact Players

Damien Harris

Harris is sitting in a timeshare, but he’s the big play guy. Averaging over nine yards a carry, Harris is the home run hitter of the offense. He’s averaging over four more yards per carry right now than Bo Scarbrough, scoring five more touchdowns in the process.

Calvin Ridley

If Alabama is throwing the ball, there’s a good chance Ridley is going to be the guy to catch it. 33 catches on the year leads the rest of the Alabama roster by 22 grabs. Expect Bob Shoop to pay extra attention to Ridley on passing downs.

Minkah Fitzpatrick

He and Ronnie Harrison are a wrecking crew in the secondary. You’ll see Minkah all over the field on Saturday, likely tormenting Jarrett Guarantano and the Tennessee offense. Watch for him to make some plays in the backfield, as well as get his hands on some footballs down the field.


Game Outlook

I think Vegas tells us all we need to know here. Part that five touchdown line is the simple fact that Alabama is destroying nearly everyone this year. The other part of that is the fact that Tennessee hasn’t scored a touchdown in 2.5 games. It’s one team on a peak and another in a valley. You just have to hope Tennessee can keep it respectable.

Better days are coming — I hope. Lord knows we deserve it.