Since Nick Saban arrived at Alabama for the 2007 season, the once-competitive Tennessee-Alabama rivalry has change into nothing greater than an annual late October celebration for the Crimson Tide. A winner of 14 straight on this sequence, Saban has defeated 5 Tennessee coaches and may add a sixth to his checklist Saturday when his No. 4 Crimson Tide host the Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Tennessee is 4-3 and enhancing beneath first-year coach Josh Heupel, however the Volunteers are getting into the gauntlet portion of their schedule with video games in opposition to No. 15 Kentucky and No. 1 Georgia looming within the weeks forward.
Following a surprising loss to Texas A&M, Alabama obtained again on observe final week with a dominant 49-9 win at Mississippi State. Tennessee, however, misplaced a 31-26 battle with Ole Miss that might depart the Volunteers drained getting into the hardest check of their 2021 schedule so far. The Crimson Tide have gained the final 5 conferences on this sequence by a mean of 33.4 factors, and from a expertise perspective, they’re definitely able to preserving that tempo this season.
With Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Younger rising as an element within the Heisman Trophy race, and the Alabama protection using excessive after a dominant outing, this has the makings of one other beatdown. However the Volunteers have confirmed extra aggressive than might anticipated them to be this season, and Heupel’s offense has made large strides in latest weeks.
Alabama vs. Tennessee: Must know
Will Anderson’s stardom: Solely 4 FBS groups have allowed extra sacks than Tennessee, which has seen its quarterbacks taken down within the backfield 25 occasions this season. That is a nasty omen for the Volunteers as they face an Alabama protection that feasted on Mississippi State’s offensive line final week. The Crimson Tide sacked Bulldogs’ quarterback Will Rogers seven occasions, 4 of which got here from linebacker Will Anderson. The sophomore’s seven sacks are tied for sixth-most nationally, and his 15 complete tackles for loss lead the nation. If Anderson retains this up, he’ll discover himself within the operating for some nationwide awards and close to the highest of early 2023 NFL mock drafts.
Tennessee’s quarterback scenario: Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker left late within the Volunteers’ loss to Ole Miss with an obvious leg damage. Whereas Heupel stated he does not imagine Hooker’s damage is a long-term downside, the Volunteers could possibly be in a tricky place if he’s unavailable. Hooker has supplied a transparent improve at quarterback since getting into for an injured Joe Milton within the Week 2 loss to Pittsburgh. If he cannot play, Milton would presumably take over once more. The Michigan switch has been tormented by accuracy points in 5 appearances, significantly with the deep ball.
Not the primary assembly: That is Heupel first recreation in opposition to Saban as a head coach, nevertheless it’s not the primary time he is confronted the legendary coach. Heupel known as the performs at Oklahoma in a 45-31 win over Alabama within the Sugar Bowl after the 2013 season. Quickly thereafter, Saban employed Lane Kiffin, whose offensive philosophy is much like Heupel’s, to modernize the Crimson Tide offense.
How one can watch Alabama vs. Tennessee reside
Date: Saturday, Oct. 23 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium — Tuscaloosa, Alabama
TV: ESPN | Stay stream: fuboTV (Strive without cost)
Alabama vs. Tennessee prediction, picks
Featured Recreation | Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Alabama obtained proper final week, and with Tennessee possible drained from the Ole MIss recreation, this ought to be a blowout. Saban possible will not be inclined to point out mercy to a program that not too long ago discovered a solution to hearth his former longtime assistant, Jeremy Pruitt, with trigger. Prediction: Alabama (-27.5)
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