Happy Friday, everyone. Butch Jones is hoping to emerge from tomorrow’s inevitable bloodbath with enough left in the tank to salvage his job by navigating their upcoming Amen corner of Kentucky, Southern Mississippi, and Mizzou. Should he manage the improbable in sweeping through such a gauntlet, he would avoid the fifth losing season for the Vols in the last decade. Let us not forget the man who started this woeful stretch:
Yep, we have Fulmer to thank for leaving Tennessee in such shambles. Lest we forget, this is a man who squandered the career of the best QB in SEC history, lucked into a national title on the back of an awful SEC that sent an unranked Mississippi State to Atlanta, then parlayed that title into 41 losses over the next ten seasons. His 5-6 mark in 2005 was the first time that the Vols had missed a bowl since 1988, and he followed it up with a 5-7 three short years later. The great Derek Dooley matched that 5-7 twice and Butch has one such season under his belt. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.
Tennessee has become so irrelevant that finding any legitimate coverage of this game was difficult, but we have some nice tidbits for you just the same:
The theme of the week seems to be not overlooking Tennessee in the face of the reality facing the Vol program. It hasn't scored a touchdown in two games, sits at 3-3 and there's considerable tension between the public and coach Butch Jones.
-- Saban said Tennessee has nothing to lose and everything to gain this week.
-- "I don't believe in tired."
-- Saban said he likes to create a little tension sometimes and he did today in practice.
Marq Burnett: Alabama 45, Tennessee 3
Things are going to get ugly quick in this game. There are few people who believe Tennessee has a chance. Outside of maybe some diehards in Knoxville, everyone knows Alabama will extend its winning streak to 11 consecutive games over Tennessee. As they have been for the last decade, Alabama is better than Tennessee in all phases of the game.
Tennessee hasn’t scored a touchdown in its last 10 quarters of play and the prospects don’t look so viable here against the Tide either. The Vols are 112th in the nation in red zone scoring, tallying just 10 TDs in 19 trips inside the opposing 20. Meanwhile Alabama unsurprisingly leads the SEC in red zone defense.
Nick Saban has never lost to the Vols since taking over in Tuscaloosa, winning all 10 matchups by a combined score of 351-119. This will be more of the same.
Prediction: Alabama 56, Tennessee 9
“I never lost to Tennessee, but I expect it to be a good game,” Henry said. “It always is. That’s a big rivalry for us, and for me, I expect us to be smoking cigars after this game.”
That about says it all. Like last week, there is no need to predict scores as we’d all just be throwing darts. The score is going to be a lot for Alabama and little to nothing for Tennessee, provided that Alabama shows up. Oh, and the fact that the garbage truck workers have to root for a backfield consisting of Derrick Henry and Jalston Fowler on Sundays is just icing on the cake.
The best part of this particular team is the personality. These guys clearly put in the work, but they’re also having a great time:
That kind of mix wouldn’t work at a lot of places, with egos getting in the way and players fighting for touches.
Not with these guys. Even though they have very different personalities — Jimmy Fallon could have a field day with his superlatives segment on the “Tonight Show” with this bunch — everyone is contributing.
“Damien, uh, he’s goofy. He’s definitely goofy, always trying to make jokes. But he’s cool,” said Jacobs, then adding after Damien Harris left the room: “He’s kind of like a big brother, really.
“Damien would probably be class clown. Bo would probably be the hype man. Brian Robinson would be the sleeper. And Najee would probably be chill.”
Bo as the hype man is quite the thought. Imagine Damien as Les Grossman, with Bo dancing over in the corner. “Swingin’ past your kneeeeeeeees.”
In case you missed it, Jalen roasted Finebaum pretty well on Wednesday:
What a fun team to root for. Hopefully they stay grounded and finish their goals. The experts certainly believe at this point:
All seven staffers polled have the Crimson Tide winning their second national title in three years, and although there’s some variance within our playoff fields, none of us seem to have really left the door open for debate on who the best team in college football is.
Interestingly, five of their seven panelists have both Alabama and Georgia making the playoff.
The Dodd Trophy, named after legendary Georgia Tech head coach Bobby Dodd, celebrates the collegiate head coach of a team who enjoys success on the field, while also “stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity.”
Wait, Saban is actually under consideration for coach of the year honors?
Elsewhere, Amari Cooper broke out of what had been a season long slump with the best game a WR has had this season:
Amari Cooper is the 1st Raiders player with 200 receiving yards in a game since Art Powell in 1965 against the Boston Patriots. pic.twitter.com/tBAkIyxOus— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 20, 2017
Roll Tide, Amari.
Last but not least, another #1 ranking for the Tide.
Ho, hum. Luckily, winning never gets old.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.