Staff Predictions for Alabama vs. Tennessee
With each passing week, the Alabama football team continues to show improvements - and sometimes dominance - as it works its way back from an early season loss. After a stretch of top-10 road wins in three weeks, the Crimson Tide is back inside Bryant-Denny Stadium for the Third Saturday in October.
This year's Tennessee team might not scare a lot of fans with its 3-3 record, but the Vols' four losses have come by a combined 12 points. Plus, Tennessee enters this week off a big win over Georgia so confidence is high.
But the Vols have dropped eight in a row against the Crimson Tide, which amounts to every game since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa. And the total margin of victory during the streak is 283-95.
Oddmakers have made Alabama a 15-point favorite so there might be much of the same in store for Tennessee. Here's how our staff sees it playing out.
Barry Sanderson (Host of Inside the Locker Room)
Look for the Tide to play its best game at home this year. The defense will cause several mistakes again this week. Alabama 31, Tennessee 13
Wimp Sanderson (Host of Inside the Locker Room)
Tennessee has done a good job recruiting but I believe they are too young to keep it close. Alabama 24, Tennessee 7
Gary Harris (Host of The Gary Harris Show)
There has been a lot of chirping this week about Alabama not playing as well at home as it does on the road. I think the players want to make a statement on Saturday, and who better to make it against than Tennessee? Alabama will roll the Vols for the 9th straight season! Alabama 35, Tennessee 13
Chris Stewart (Host of The Chris Stewart Show)
Alabama's defense has been as good as anybody's in college football the past few weeks, but will face its most gifted quarterback to-date in Josh Dobbs. Still, look for another solid performance on that side, and continued improvement offensively. Alabama 35, Tennessee 13
Ryan Fowler (Host of The Game)
Alabama will continue their dominance over Tennessee. Alabama will beat Tennessee by at least 21 points, could be more. Auburn’s defense is the only thing that prevents Tennessee from being the worst defense in the SEC. Alabama 35, Tennessee 14
Ryan McMunn (Producer)
The Third Saturday in October is again taking place on the fourth Saturday in October. It's still odd to say that.
But I digress. Alabama is looking to make it nine in a row against the Volunteers, continuing the second longest streak in series history (11 in a row is the longest, Alabama won from 1971-1981). Tennessee has lost some heartbreakers this season, but they do look like a better team than last year. The Vols do boast an advantage with the mobility of their quarterback Joshua "Spaceman" Dobbs, and we all know how difficult it is to keep a mobile threat contained.
But if there's an Alabama defense that can contain a dual-threat quarterback, it's gotta be this one. They possess the best front seven in college football, and the secondary has been flying all over the field this season, making plays and keeping wide receivers in check. Alabama is simply more talented, and although they've played below-average at home so far, they'll still win this game comfortably, further extending the winning streak. Alabama 34, Tennessee 17
Trey Brooks (Producer)
Tennessee has some surprising momentum coming into this game, but in a game of match ups they fall short. Joshua Dobbs is a very capable playmaker, but the Vols offense is based around the run. Nobody has been able to run effectively on Alabama this year.
On the other side of the ball, Tennessee has a solid defensive front, but losing Shy Tuttle will prove costly. With a week of practicing with starters, Haussenauer should play better than he did against A&M, but don't expect outrageous numbers from Henry unless Ryan Kelly comes back.
All in all, Alabama is far and away the most complete team Tennessee has seen all year. Bama plays clean and they win without much drama. Alabama 31, Tennessee 17
Kevin Connell (Contributor)
Nick Saban said Monday that Tennessee could “arguably be undefeated or a one-loss team.” As much as some fans may want to disagree considering the rivalry, he’s probably onto something.
The Volunteers (3-3, 1-2 SEC) have lost three of its bigger games so far this season – Oklahoma, Florida and Arkansas – blowing leads in all of them. That doesn’t exactly speak well on their part, but it at least shows that they can compete, a notion reaffirmed when they rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat Georgia two weeks ago.
But now, can this same Tennessee team, the one Saban also called the best they’ve had “in a while,” do the same against Alabama on the road? Maybe, but it still won’t be enough to provide the Crimson Tide with a true scare. The streak lives on for at least another year. Alabama 31, Tennessee 17
Ben George (Digital Managing Editor)
If Alabama can get through this game and get to the bye week, it'll be in a great position heading into November. The biggest obstacle on Saturday will be quarterback Joshua Dobbs. The junior had his breakout game a year ago in this game and he enters Saturday fresh off a 300 yard passing, 100 yard rushing performance against Georgia. But this Alabama defense is big, fast, and confident, and I think its fully prepared for what Tennessee will try to do. Alabama 38, Tennessee 16.