Tennessee at No. 1 Alabama
When: 8 p.m., Saturday
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium
Records: Alabama 6-0, 3-0 SEC; Tennessee 2-4, 1-2 SEC
TV: ESPN
Radio: 95.3 FM, 102.9 FM


THE CALL

By Edwin Stanton

OFFENSE
Advantage: Alabama
Tennessee’s QB situation is up in the air between Brian Maurer or Jarrett Guarantano. The Vols are 11th in the SEC in passing while DeVonta Smith and Alabama is No. 2. UT isn’t much better rushing (12th in SEC) while Alabama is picking up speed in the run game (8th in SEC).

DEFENSE
Advantage: Alabama
Anfernee Jennings and the Crimson Tide had five sacks last week and stepped up its run defense, holding Texas A&M to 125 yards, 73 of which came in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand. The Vols have a respectable overall defense, but allow 160 rushing yards per game.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Advantage: Even
Will Reichard could be back on the field after missing the last two games with a pulled hip flexor. Joseph Bulovas has done well in his absence. Jaylen Waddle looks to stay hot after last week’s career-day of 128 punt return yards. UT is 11 of 12 with field goals and perfect on PATs.

COACHING
Advantage: Alabama
In Year 2 in Knoxville, Jeremy Pruitt has a lot of good coaches with lots of football knowledge on the staff, but it’s going to take some time for it to all come together. No such problem with Nick Saban and his newly-assembled Tide staff, who continue to get the most out of Tide players.

INTANGIBLES
Advantage: Alabama
Alabama has been challenged twice during its 12-game win streak against the Vols (2009, 2015). Both of those games were at home. The Crimson Tide has too much at stake to let this be a nail biter. Besides, Alabama doesn’t want to waste all those good cigars they brought to light up at the end.

PREDICTION
Alabama 56, Tennessee 21
The last time Alabama lost to Tennessee most of the Crimson Tide players were in elementary school. That’s a big physiological edge for Alabama. Tennessee is not where it needs to be to make this game competitive. Cigar smoke will be floating around Bryant-Denny Stadium amid the crimson LED lights by the third quarter.

STAFF PICKS

Tommy DiCostanzo
Alabama 55,
Tennessee 13
A tough season for the Vols won’t get any easier Saturday night. After begging for a night game to showcase the new stadium lights, the Tide get their wish with a 8 p.m. start time. Coming out of the gates with a little extra juice under the lights, the offense could easily put up 40 in the first half

Brett Hudson
Alabama 45,
Tennessee 13
You can probably light your victory cigar shortly after halftime — and maybe pair it with some coffee so you make it to the end of the game.

Cecil Hurt
Alabama 45,
Tennessee 10
Jeremy Pruitt is trying to take UT on a long, arduous climb back to the SEC summit but he’s not allowed to take his team there on a chairlift. So being competitive for a portion of the game may be the best outcome — if UT can do it. Once again, the Smoky Mountains won’t have any cigar smoke in the mix.

Tyler Martin
Alabama 45,
Tennessee 7
Tennessee might be on the upswing, after a surprising win over Mississippi State, but that will not matter against this Alabama team. Tua and the offense keep it rolling and the Crimson Tide will make it 13 years in a row against the Volunteers.

James Ogletree
Alabama 48,
Tennessee 10
I originally had Alabama scoring more than 48, but I think Nick Saban will let up on former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. The Vols’ offense ranks outside the top 100 in yards gained and points scored, and their slightly-above-average defense won’t be able to stop Alabama’s juggernaut of an offense.

Carey Reeder
Alabama 59,
Tennessee 13
Jeremy Pruitt said earlier this week that Alabama could score 100 points per game. I don’t think the Crimson Tide will score that many points against the Vols, but it could get close. Alabama will extend their streak over Tennessee to 13 years.

Michael Southern
Alabama 52,
Tennessee 20
The Third Saturday in October hasn’t held much drama recently. Only the games in 2009 and 2015 had competitive outcomes that finished within single digits. The familiar aroma of cigars will be lingering around Bryant-Denny Stadium late Saturday night and into the early Sunday morning hours.

Katie Windham
Alabama 59,
Tennessee 13
Jeremy Pruitt said earlier this week that Alabama could score 100 points per game. I don’t think the Crimson Tide will score that many points against the Vols, but it could get close. Alabama will extend their streak over Tennessee to 13 years.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

By Carey Reeder

 

ALABAMA
Shane Lee
Position: Linebacker
Height: 6-0
Weight: 246
Class: Freshman
Key Stat: Recorded eight tackles and half a sack against Texas A&M
Buzz: Apart of the stellar freshman duo at linebacker, Lee has excelled after being thrusted into the starting lineup. With 38 tackles, it ranks second on the defense. Lee is strong enough to stop the run at the line of scrimmage and fast enough to cover sideline-to-sideline and prevent running backs from breaking it outside.

Christian Barmore
Position: Defensive line
Height: 6-5
Weight: 310
Class: Freshman
Key Stat: Recorded his first career sack last week against Texas A&M
Buzz: Another freshman that has been gaining more buzz as the season goes on, Barmore has been impactful in his time being rotated into the defensive front. A solid frame gives him endless opportunities to disrupt opposing backfields and he hopes to carry over the momentum from College Station this week.

Landon Dickerson
Position: Offensive line
Height: 6-6
Weight: 308
Class: Junior
Key Stat: Started all six games for Alabama this season, two at center and four at right guard
Buzz: The most versatile offensive lineman for the Crimson Tide, Dickerson moved back to center last week in place of the injured Chris Owens. Dickerson was named one of the offensive players of the week against Texas A&M by the Alabama coaching staff. It could be another huge day for the Alabama offense.

TENNESSEE
Jauan Jennings
Position: Wide receiver
Height: 6-3
Weight: 208
Class: Senior
Key Stat: Leads the Volunteers in receiving yards (412), catches (29) and touchdowns (5)
Buzz: Jennings is no stranger to stunning stadiums silent like he did in 2016 against Georgia when he caught the last-second touchdown in Sanford Stadium. If Tennessee is to have a chance against Alabama, Jennings needs to give quarterback Brian Maurer a solid option to throw to and in the end, maybe another deep shot with no time remaining.

Henry To’o To’o
Position: Linebacker
Height: 6-2
Weight: 232
Class: Freshman
Key Stat: Second leading tackler on the Volunteers’ defense with 34
Buzz: The freshman has been arguably the brightest spot for the Tennessee this season overall, but most definitely the brightest spot on defense. With Alabama running back Najee Harris having his highest output of rushing yards this season with 114 against Texas A&M, Tennessee will need an answer for that and To’o To’o could be it.

Brent Cimaglia
Position: Kicker
Height: 6-0
Weight: 210
Class: Junior
Key Stat: Converted 11-out-of-12 field goals this season and all 15 extra point attempts
Buzz: It’s no secret Tennessee may have some trouble scoring against the Alabama defense. However, the Volunteers may be able to bend it some and that could open the door for the reliable Cimaglia to get Tennessee on the board.

This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  TideSports 3 weeks, 3 days ago.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.