“You never know about a football player until he has played against Alabama.” – General Robert R. Neyland
“You found out what kind of person you were when you played against Tennessee” – Paul “Bear” Bryant
Some of you younger folks probably don’t get into this stuff like your parents and grandparents. But, this used to be the premier rivalry of the SEC. Between the two teams, they are first and second in the SEC in all time wins, conference championships, national championships, bowl games played and bowl games won.
Lately, Alabama has definitely had the better of it, winning the last five meetings. According to some message board respondents, that means that Alabama “owns them.”
This series is full of mini streaks by both teams. As a matter of fact, when UT won 35-24 in 2001, the Vols had won seven straight in the series. Back then, some of their fans were the ones talking about “owning.” As of right now, the series stands at 49-38-7 in favor of Alabama.
If Dooley is going to make it with the Vols, he must make some real noise in the SEC this year. The game is played in Knoxville and expect several offensive wrinkles-especially if UT has lost to Florida earlier in the year.
To me, this is the more dangerous game for Alabama than the Michigan or Arkansas game. I expect them to be ready for Michigan and the Razorbacks just won’t be able to score enough against 'Bama’s defense.
This game is also the most respectful of all SEC rivalries I’ve known. Win or lose, true fans of both teams have always treated each other with civility. A tradition handed down by two of the greatest coaches ever associated with the game.