Tennessee vs. Alabama: More Than an SEC Rivalry

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Tennessee vs. Alabama: More Than an SEC Rivalry

It has been said that football is just a kid's game. It's foolish to spend time watching it; it's wasteful to spend money on it; and it's pointless to treat it like it's life or death.

Judging by the billions of dollars spent to televise, cover, and support the sport I have to disagree wholeheartedly.

Maybe in some regions of our fine country it's a big deal, but here in the south it's reason to re-schedule weddings, birthdays, and even cancel church services.

College football and its rivalries are as much a part of Southern culture as sweet tea, conservative values, and first-class country hospitality.

One such rivalry was once known as the biggest in the south.

Tennessee/Alabama has long been one of the most storied, classy rivalries in the nation, much less the South. It has decided bragging rights, broken many hearts, and caused sleepless nights.

Once known by the moniker, "The Third Saturday in October,' fans of both programs have circled the date on their calendars for decades.

In recent years the rivalry has lost some of its luster. This is mainly due to television dollars, emergence of other great SEC programs, and the ever-increasing notoriety the sport has gained. But to many fans of both schools it is still "the big one."

My earliest memory of "Bama Week" was 1990. I distinctly remember asking my dad before the game, are we 'Bama fans or Tennessee fans?

His response: "Son, we hate Alabama." And another Big Orange-loving, Bama-hating Volniac was born.

My dad would fill me in on the great history of the series. He told me of the 1966 game in which Alabama came in ranked No. 3 and barely escaped 11-10.

There was the 1982 game, 10 months after I was born, when Alabama came to Knoxville ranked No. 2 in the nation, and unranked Tennessee won 35-28.

In 1983, the Tide was ranked No. 11 when the unranked Vols won 41-34.

Of course more ups and downs would follow in this grand series. In this slideshow I will detail my most memorable UT/Bama games--the gutwrenching losses as well as the exhilarating wins.

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