It’s been a while since we’ve had a Roundtable here at RBR, but this is a momentous game, the likes of which we rarely get to see with a cross-division opponent. The fact that it’s Tennessee certainly makes it special. No team claims more wins against Alabama than the Vols in a series that is now in its 105th meeting. Alabama and Tennessee have met every year since 1944, and entire lifetimes have been spent hating one another across the border.
It’s traditionally a streak rivalry, but what has happened in the Saban era has been unprecedented: 15 straight victories for the Crimson Tide, and all-but two of them decided by double-digits. And not low double-digits either — Saban’s average margin of victory over the Volunteers is 31 points, the most lopsided of any regular Crimson Tide opponent.
These have not been good Tennessee teams either, by and large. This is only the third time in the last 20 years that the two will meet as ranked teams; it is only the second time in two decades where Alabama and UT will also meet as Top 10 foes. Thus, Alabama’s ascendancy has coincided with a decade-plus period of Tennessee staggering around drunk on the railroad tracks. One could say Nick Saban beating down Phil Fulmer 41-14 in 2007 began that era of decline: Volunteers fans would and have laid the blame of their woes directly at the feet of the Crimson Tide train that ran slap over them.
It is delicious.
The Volunteers simply have not been living up to their end of the bargain, in short. But, is this the year that it finally happens? Do the Vols live up to their alleged promise and lofty ranking? Does Bryce Young play? How does this game play out, who wins, and why?
Feel free to answer below, but here are our thoughts.
Bryce plays, the Tide Rolls, Gibbs and Brooks have big days.
The Cheetah package wrecks shit.
Kool-Aid houses a punt. .
Roll Tide #BelieveInTheProcess
Tennessee’s defense is the biggest fraud in America; a group so bad they made AR15 look competent. A bumbling Gators team damn near got them in Knoxville a month ago, and the Crimson Tide will. It is a group built on getting big leads, hoping mistakes fall in their lap — not for consistent, sustained punching from one of the nation’s most talented teams. This is not Pitt, you clowns.
Oh, sure, the Vols will get some scores in, but as we’ve seen time and again with this Heupel-led iteration of Tennessee, they can and will collapse late. And Hooker can give it away in bundles, just as his name suggests.
Those much-ballyhooed absences? Everyone is playing in this game: bank on it — Bryce Young, Cedric Tillman, Jaylen Moody, and Jaylen McCollough. Even if Bryce doesn’t play, the backups will be fine against this sham of a secondary (see that note above about AR15).
And don’t think for one mingy second that Nick Saban and these 85 guys haven’t been seeing all the shots across the bow, your snide remarks, the insinuations, the smack-talking, the hubris, the damning with faint praise...the disrespect.
The “yummy rat poison.”
You’re going to regret that, as you get sent back to the kids’ table by your betters.
There can and will be no excuses when the Tide rolls in and washes away all of that upjumped orange filth: you just got your ass kicked.
45-20 Crimson Tide.
Have you heard the news? It’s doomsday in Tuscaloosa.
Saban is old. Bama is undisciplined and lost. Tennessee is on a hot streak, and the fans are back on their side.
And for all those reasons and more, Alabama will ruin the day of all the critics and haters by winning this game 38-26.
My answer here is simple: If Bryce Young plays (and is healthy doing so... big caveat), Alabama wins by two-plus scores. If not, Alabama loses.
The Tide’s defense is the best in the country, but a good offense can score on an elite defense in the modern college football. So, Tennessee will get held below their season average, but will still score enough that the Tide’s offense can’t just be inept again while the defense bails them out.
Can Jalen Milroe score 30 points? That’s the target amount, I think. And I don’t have faith that will happen.
And, unfortunately, my gut feeling is that is the more likely situation than Bryce being good to go.
Ed. Note: Brent was so Nega-Gump that he didn’t even give us a final score.
This isn’t going to be easy, no matter who plays quarterback.
If Bryce is in there, I feel pretty confident that he will be able to get enough done through the air to put near 40 on the board against a suspect secondary. If it’s Milroe, things could get dicey. Tennessee’s offense will provide the toughest test to date for the Tide defense, which has been outstanding.
For the purpose of this exercise I am going to assume that Bryce plays.
Let’s call it 38-24, Alabama.
Alright, let’s hear from you: Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Why? How does this game play out? What’s our final score?
And if you want to throw some serious hate the Vols’ way, we even have a dedicated thread for it over at Tennessee Hate Week.