ON THE CUSP: What a win over Alabama would mean for the Tennessee program
By: John Dunn
Founder, Managing Editor, Host
The All Vol Call in Show
Through five games this season, the Tennessee Volunteers have remained unblemished. As the only team in the nation with three wins against ranked opposition, the Vols have garnered tons of praise ahead of a highly anticipated top-10 matchup with annual SEC West opponent, and conference counterpart, Alabama.
For the first time in decades, it seems like Tennessee may have a chance to defeat the mighty Tide. The sixth-ranked Vols will square-off against the third-ranked Crimson Tide on Saturday in Neyland Stadium. It marks the first time since 1989 that the two teams meet ranked inside the top-10. It is also the first time Tennessee enters the matchup with a 5-0 record since 1998, the same season the Vols last claimed the national title.
Nick Saban has never lost to Tennessee while coaching at Alabama, and the Tide currently maintain a 15-game winning streak over Tennessee, dating back to 2007.
Tennessee fans have heard everything this season; "we will see how good they are when they play Pittsburgh," "we will see how good they are when they play Florida," "we will see how good they are when they play LSU on the road." Well, we saw how good the Vols were as they claimed victory in each of these contests, two of which were on the road, and all of the aforementioned opponents were ranked at the time of the game. Barring losses to Tennessee, each respective team, other than Pittsburgh, would still likely be ranked inside the top-25.
However, Saturday's matchup presents a golden opportunity for the Vols. It would be hard for anyone to debate Tennessee's success if it pulls off the upset of Alabama on Saturday. Pundits, fans, and others would have a hard time debating that Tennessee was one of the best teams, if not the best team, in the nation with four ranked wins on the resume, including a win over Alabama and a 6-0 record.
The Vols have shown throughout the season that they are on the cusp regaining national prominence under the direction of second year head coach Josh Heupel. A win over Alabama would signify the return of the Tennessee Volunteers to the national stage and put the entire country on notice.
For the first time in a long time, it's safe to say...the Vols are back.
Below are some side-by-side comparisons of each respective program. Alabama is highlighted in crimson, and Tennessee is highlighted in orange.