No. 1-ranked Alabama visits rival Tennessee on the Third Saturday in October. Here are four key questions that will be answered:
1. Has Tennessee turned a corner?
The Volunteers upset a ranked Auburn team on the road last weekend for their first SEC victory since 2016. Former Alabama player and assistant Jeremy Pruitt, UT’s first-year coach, got off to a rough start but has Tennessee playing better. Upsetting the Crimson Tide would be an incredible feat, but just making a game of it would signal continued progress for the underdogs.
2. What will Alabama’s quarterback rotation look like?
Tua Tagovailoa is the Crimson Tide’s clear starter, but he checked out of last weekend’s victory over Missouri with a knee injury. Will he be ready to go and at full strength by Saturday? It could mean more work for Jalen Hurts in Knoxville, or the rotation could remain the same, with lefty Tagovailoa starting and getting most of the snaps until the game seems in hand.
3. Is Alabama’s defense starting to come together?
UA’s stop unit beat up Missouri quarterback Drew Lock last weekend and also clamped down pretty well on the Tigers’ running game. It looked more like a dominant Nick Saban defense than at any point so far this season. Depth is still an issue, but coordinator Tosh Lupoi’s unit is taking strides in the right direction.
4. Will another Alabama senior class graduate without losing to Tennessee?
Alabama has won every year since 2007. That means every fourth-year player at UA since 2010 has been able to smoke a cigar in the locker room every season of his career. There’s no sign of the Crimson Tide losing its edge in the rivalry, and this year’s seniors don’t want to be the ones who break the string.