After snapping its 11-game SEC losing streak against then-No. 21 Auburn, Tennessee returns to Neyland Stadium to square off with No. 1 Alabama.
Is there any chance that Tennessee can pull off the Herculean upset?
Conner Knapp: Alabama 45, Tennessee 24
While Tennessee snapped its SEC losing streak last week and has some positive momentum, the Vols are not going to end their 10-year losing streak to Alabama — and that’s fine.
Whatever happens against the best team in the country is inconsequential to the rest of Tennessee’s season. All the Vols can do on Saturday is give their best effort and when it’s over, re-set their sights on a winnable latter portion of the schedule and trying to reach a bowl game.
Terry Lambert: Alabama 48, Tennessee 16
That score I just posted has very little to do with Tennessee. Alabama is just a true juggernaut. They jump out to huge leads, racking up points and yards no matter who is on the other side of the ball.
Tennessee took a massive step forward last week, but this is a much different story. I’m expecting Jarrett Guarantano to make a play or two against a beatable secondary, but it won’t be enough. Nick Saban has the best offense in the country and that should absolutely terrify everyone.
Noah Taylor: Alabama 45, Tennessee 21
While Tennessee had that program-defining win at Auburn last Saturday, in the back of everyone’s minds was this matchup with top-ranked Alabama looming large.
Auburn wasn’t a game Jeremy Pruitt had to win in year one, but it was a game they needed to play well in and they exceeded expectations for many. But now comes Crimson Tide, and the results this time are going to be very different. And for Tennessee, that’s okay. Whatever the result is on Saturday in Neyland Stadium, it won’t be indicative of the direction the program under Jeremy Pruitt is heading.
While the SEC as whole may be the best overall it has been in years, no one in this conference is beating Goliath this season, and that may go for the rest of the country as well.
Evan Winter: Alabama 35, Tennessee 20
Well, that was fun while it lasted.
Last week’s win cannot be understated, but neither can this week’s matchup against a far superior team.
This is the best team Nick Saban has had since he arrived in Tuscaloosa and this is probably the worst team Jeremy Pruitt will have during his time in Knoxville.
The stars won’t align for this one, but expect the Vols to put up a decent fight.
Austin Burlage: Alabama 35, Tennessee 10
Last week I was totally wrong, in the best way possible. The Tennessee offense managed to come alive after several weeks in SEC play to propel the Vols to an excellent win against an SEC-West foe. I’m coming around on the Vols offense. The problem - we run into one of the best college football teams of all time this week in the Alabama Crimson Tide. Let’s face it, it’ll probably be ugly. But, maybe it won’t be that bad. Here are some reasons why.
For one, we’ve got home field advantage. It probably won’t be quite as intimidating as in prior iterations of this rivalry given the circumstances, but Neyland remains a difficult place to play. For two, we have Jeremy Pruitt. Alabama pretty much has no weak points, but if they did have a “less good” area Coach Pruitt will know it given his background with the Alabama program. Third, and most importantly, the Crimson Tide have huge games coming up. Alabama will play at #5 LSU, home against #22 Mississippi State, and home in the Iron Bowl over the next four weeks. Tennessee is a classic trap opponent! An improving team playing at home with nothing to lose as their opponent looks ahead to seemingly more meaningful games. I’m not crazy enough to think the Vols will win, but they can keep it close. Especially if Tua Tagovailoa’s health is in question.