By Tommy Deas
Alabama’s running game continues to get better, and Jalen Hurts has shown improvement as a passer. Calvin Ridley gives him a dependable playmaker to target. Tennessee changed quarterbacks last week, but can’t find a way to generate points.
The Alabama stop unit seems to be rounding into form, with opponents having nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Mack Wilson is a young linebacker starting to come into his own. Tennessee is giving up nearly 24 points per game and is middle-of-the-pack in the SEC.
The Volunteers have done all of their scoring off the foot of kicker Brent Cimaglia of late. Tennessee has also shown some pop in the return game. Alabama has fumbled some punts and hasn’t found a way to break a big one yet. JK Scott and Andy Pappanastos have been solid specialists.
Across the board, Alabama’s coaching staff has distinguished itself. Tosh Lupoi coaches outside linebackers and is co-coordinator on the defensive side, and his guys are getting after it. Tennessee’s Butch Jones is under fire for a reason in his fifth season.
Tennessee has a coach on the hot seat and there is unrest in Rocky Top, but Alabama is playing its seventh game in a row and headed into a bye week. It’s a perfect setup for the Crimson Tide to be less than sharp, since many are considering the outcome to be a foregone conclusion.
Alabama 45, Tennessee 3
The Vols haven’t broached the end zone in nearly a month, so they’ll have trouble scoring against this Alabama defense. The Crimson Tide will produce big plays after pounding away for a while to beat Tennessee down. Alabama’s streak against its rival will continue.
Alabama 49, Tennessee 0
If you are wearing orange inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, don’t expect to leave happy. Some of the crowd will probably leave before this one is over. Alabama records a shutout and the offensive puts up another high scoring affair against the visiting Volunteers.
Alabama 59, Tennessee 3
Short of a 100-point blowout, which hasn’t happened since Division III Rockford stomped Trinity Bible 105-0 back in 2003, no result in this game should come as a surprise. Tennessee has been dreadful on offense, ranking last in the conference in total offense, total points, and points per game. After seeing No. 3 Georgia throttle the Volunteers 41-0 last month, Alabama will attempt to make the same statement at home. This one should be ugly.
Alabama 41, Tennessee 14
It is amazing that you can pick a score (in reverse) from a game that is regarded as one of Tennessee’s most dominant victories in the Third Saturday in October series history — and people think you are disrespecting Alabama because you have it “so close.”
Alabama 48, Tennessee 3
Nick Saban said this week that despite being 3-3, the Volunteers were only out of one game. Tennessee’s record won’t be 3-3 after Saturday, and the Vols won’t be in this game either.
Alabama 37, Tennessee 0
The Tennessee Volunteers are stumbling into Bryant-Denny Stadium and this could be a Butch Jones forced-retirement game. Expect the smell of cigars to be circulating around the Alabama locker room Saturday night.
Alabama 49, Tennessee 13
Tennessee is a complete mess. The offense can’t score, there are issues at quarterback, and Butch Jones continues to say and do things that make you wonder if he really wants to be in Knoxville. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jones is fired immediately after this loss, depending on how bad it is.
Alabama 42, Tennessee 10
Alabama is just better than Tennessee. There’s nothing in-depth analysis required. That said, I think Alabama is really looking forward to the bye week.
Alabama 56, Tennessee 3
Alabama is on a roll, and Nick Saban has pulled the leash tight. Meanwhile, Tennessee hasn’t scored a touchdown in its last two games. Alabama has done that, and more.
Alabama 48, Tennessee 3
Alabama’s running backs have been making explosive plays in the beginning of the past two games, creating momentum for the rest of the game.