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Is this finally Tennessee’s year?

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Alabama Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Oh this is internet gold:

UT is on a 13-game losing streak to its hated Rival dating back to when Nick Saban took over the program back in 2007. Fornelli said he doesn’t even expect the Vols to contend for the SEC East this year. So what could make him project such an upset?

The answer lies in the schedule and the location. Fornelli noted that Tennessee football will have multiple chances at an upset this year and should be significantly improved. Alabama, he says, is their best chance. Here’s a look at his reasoning.

“Not only are they playing the game in Knoxville, but Tennessee has a bye the week before. Alabama does not. Alabama’s game against Tennessee will be its eighth contest in as many weeks. It will also be Alabama’s third road game in four weeks. All the ingredients are there for a major Tennessee upset, so don’t forget who told you it was going to happen five months ahead of time.”

Less than 7 months ago, the entire nation was laughing at Tennessee and already preparing for Jeremy Pruitt’s firing to make way for Phil Fulmer taking over as “interim” head coach from his AD position.

A close-ish game against a Tua-less Alabama, a few insignificant wins, and some shotgun-style early 2021 recruiting success has suddenly made them media darlings again, and I couldn’t love it more. It will make the 14th in a row all the sweeter.

“My expectations are for Bryce to compete, whatever form or fashion that may be,” Craig Young said. “Because when you send your young man to a university, you entrust in that position coach, that head coach to make the best decisions for the football team and then, by extension, for your son. My expectations are for Bryce to compete every second that he’s there — film room, on the field, off the field. And if you do those things and you show that you’re the player that we know that you are, everything will take care of itself.

“... Yes, those practices on the field were lost. However, being an early enrollee, the time he was there was invaluable. You got a chance to do all the involuntary workouts, you got a chance to do the strength and conditioning, you got a chance to acclimate to the university, you got a chance to have meetings with the coaches. And even in this time off, still having meetings, still know the playbook, still know the plays. So yes, missing those practices, we don’t want to minimize that, but also, all is not lost.

“And as a competitor, you can never come into a situation and say, ‘You know what, I didn’t have those practices, I’m done.’ No, what competitor thinks like that? A competitor, no matter what the situation, is competing, and you don’t ever go in there conceding anything.”

This entire interview with Bryce Young’s dad is really cool and give some insight into Bryce’s mentality. If he approaches things like the way his father is talking about competition, I don’t think any sort of entitlement or anything like that will be a problem whatsoever.

Meanwhile, check out how Marlon Humphrey and Da’Ron Payne are staying in shape in the middle of not having team workouts:

Here, again, is the updated list of announced future games on the Alabama football schedule:

2021 – Sept. 4 – Miami in Atlanta

2022 – at Texas

2023 – Texas

2024 – at Wisconsin

2025 – Wisconsin

2026 – at West Virginia

2026 – Florida State

2027 West Virginia

2028 – at Notre Dame

2029 – Notre Dame

2030 – at Georgia Tech

2031 – Georgia Tech

2032 – at Oklahoma

2032 — Arizona

2033 – Oklahoma

2033 — at Arizona

2034 – at Virginia Tech

2035 – Virginia Tech

Most Alabama followers probably would like to see a somewhat regular dose of the biggest names on the current list, the aforementioned Notre Dame, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Wisconsin has also been on the lists of many Tide fans, in great part because of the positive reputation of the Badgers home stadium, Camp Randall. For many years some Bama followers clamored for a game against Wisconsin because the Tide’s all-time record had been 0-1 following a loss in Madison in 1928. Alabama evened the record in Arlington in 2015

I’m personally excited for the Tide to continue their efforts to reduce/eliminate all the games with the Mercers and Citadels of the world

I don’t figure it’ll help much in the national perspective of strength of schedule— Bama could beat an entire schedule of teams that end up 11-1 and people would still retroactively complain we didn’t beat any undefeated teams.

But it should up fan engagement and, more importantly, I think will be good for sharpening the team in any given season.

In 2019, for example, the Tide basically didn’t have a single game with even a modicum of difficulty to overcome until LSU rolled around. And they were shellshocked for an entire half before realizing that they could could compete with the Tigers.

Playing 6 cupcake teams every year (plus or minus a few depending on in-conference team strength on any given year) gives the team very little sample size to be able to learn about their own competitive psychology.

In short: it’s really hard to identify, learn from, and correct mistakes if you aren’t being hit in the face for making that mistake.

The relationships L’Arche Mobile has built with college coaches and analysts over the last 25 years are paying off during this year’s coronavirus pandemic.

The 26th annual L’Arche Football Preview will be held virtually Thursday and will feature Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, Alabama head coach Nick Saban and 14 other college head coaches, coordinators, media personalities and others.

And it’s free.

“A local dinner that has been successful for 25 years is going regional and maybe even national,” L’Arche director Marty O’Malley said.

This year’s virtual preview is scheduled from 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday and can be seen at this link: https://youtu.be/h1lEyffzRMU.

“Someone asked me today how many people can watch a YouTube broadcast,” O’Malley said. “Maybe we’ll find out Thursday night.”

Mark your calendars for tomorrow night. Nick Saban, Gus Malzahn, Rece Davis, Phil Savage, Todd Blackledge, and more will all be giving interviews. It’ll be a great way to pass a Thursday evening.