By: John Dunn, Rachel Ward and Chandler Smith
The All Vol Call in Show
October 18, 2019
What used to be one of the SEC’s most anticipated match ups has since become a very one-sided affair. Alabama has seen a decade and a half of dominance under future hall of fame coach Nick Saban over their yearly inter-divisional foe, Tennessee.
In the past, the winner of this game was often the team that won the SEC championship. However, times have changed – Tennessee has been stuck in a rut for what seems like an eternity to Vol fans, while Alabama has had arguably the most dominant run in college football history over the past 12 years.
Is this the year the Volunteers sneak over a win against the top-ranked team in the nation? With a kick-off time of 9:00 pm and the Tide on their home turf, the outlook is grim for Tennessee.
John Dunn: As badly as I hope I am wrong; I don’t expect much of a game out of this one. I would really like to see Tennessee play an entire game the way they played the first half of the Georgia game. The Vols are coming off of a much-needed victory – and it was even over an SEC WEST school.
Tennessee played some great defense against the Bulldogs last Saturday, but still lacked in explosive offense. Brian Maurer is expected to play, not sure if he starts, but Jarrett Guarantano did a very good job of taking care of the football during the span of time that he was in the game. He went 6-of-7 passing for 107 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
In order for the Vols to even remain in the game, they will have to show up defensively.
The Tide bolster on of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks in the country. With the tandem of Tua and Jeudy having a very successful year thus far, I expect a long day for the Tennessee secondary. I see this game being more/less over by halftime (it kills me to say that). This may be the best offensive Alabama team that Nick Saban has ever coached, and that’s no joke. However, I do expect Tennessee to accumulate some points – it just won’t be enough.
Prediction: 52-17; Alabama
Rachel Ward: The third Saturday in October came quick. While this SEC rivalry has not been a strong one in years, the history of it is there in the fact that you hear “third Saturday in October” and know exactly what’s going to be happening.
Facing the top team in the country on their home field, I think the Vols will have to go into the game with the same powerhouse mentality Jauan Jennings is entering the game with. “We get to play the number one team in the country in their own stadium at night,” Jennings said. “If you can’t get excited about that, like, why are you doing this?”
For Coach Pruitt, he’s facing a place and team he’s very familiar with and is thankful for Alabama for the first start it gave him in college football. He knows they’re a dominant team with little flaws offensively.
As far as the QB position, Pruitt says it’ll be a game time decision due to Maurer’s concussion last weekend. When I think about QBs going into a game against Alabama with little experience at the starting position, my mind goes to a 2014 backup QB Josh Dobbs who went in the game for Justin Worley, changing the game from a 27-0 deficit to a 27-17 game in the third quarter.
While Maurer doesn’t need to try and be a “superhero” as Callaway put it, he has some similarities to Dobbs in his no fear, go for it aura.
Pruitt has stated that he and his guys are looking for improvement every week and have seen it. Going into Tuscaloosa, I think the mentality should be one of Jennings’. Just looking forward to the opportunity to improve against the top ranked team in the country.
Prediction: 45-14; Alabama
Chandler Smith: Alabama is currently riding a 12-game winning streak over Tennessee. That streak is now the longest in the rivalry that dates back to 1901. On Saturday, the Tide and the Vols will meet for the 101st time.
Tennessee is coming off a win over a Mississippi State team that was favored by a touchdown. The line Saturday is a whopping 34.5 points.
During Alabama’s 12-game winning streak, that total has been eclipsed 4 times.
The Vols surprised several people last week with a win in a game they weren’t supposed have. Brian Maurer sustained a concussion last week, but is expected to play. If he is unable to go, Jarrett Guarantano showed last week that he could hold onto the win as he cleaned up Mississippi State.
No matter who starts, the Vols will have their hands full. Alabama isn’t ranked No. 1 because Nick Saban is a likable person. The Tide have been a machine for a decade now. With talent at every position, they would be a favorite against 95% of the NCAA.
In the last 12 years, Alabama has beaten Tennessee by an average of 38-12. That number is just above Saturday’s line. This game follows suit.
Prediction: 52-13; Alabama