Tennessee to Face Tough Mid-season Test in Hard-nosed, Second-ranked Alabama in Knoxville

It’s no secret that the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry has fallen off of a proverbial cliff in the last 13 years, from 2007 to last year, but that doesn’t take away from the downright hatred and bad blood that continues to flow rapidly through the veins of these two programs, and fans of the two respective programs alike.

Traditionally, the rivalry game has been played on the third Saturday in October. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic influenced schedules, the game was pushed back a week.

The Tennessee Volunteers and the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide are set to renew their rivalry at 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday in Neyland Stadium on CBS. Gameday seating will be at approximately 25 percent of the venue’s full capacity of 102,455.

Saturday’s game will be available over the airwaves of the Smokey Mountains on the Vol Network with Bob Kesling (play-by-play), Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs (analysts), and Kasey Funderburg (sideline) on the call.

The CBS broadcast will be brought to viewers by Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst), and Jamie Erdahl (sideline) on the call.

Recent series history has been in favor of Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, as Alabama has won 13 meetings in a row (2007-2019). Tennessee has won nine of its last 12 games dating back to last season. Saturday marks the halfway point for the Volunteers’ season as Tennessee is off on October 31.

Tennessee punt returners are averaging 20.0 yards per punt return this season, which ranks third in the country and second in the Southeastern Conference.

Kick returner Velus Jones Jr., is averaging 25.0 yards per kick return this season, which ranks second among teams in the Southeastern Conference.

Tennessee’s defense has recorded two touchdowns thus far in 2020, which ranks third in the country and third in the Southeastern Conference.

20 Volunteers have made their Tennessee debut in 2020, including 17 true freshmen.

Inside the Series:

Saturday’s meeting between Alabama and Tennessee will mark the 103rd all-time meeting between the bitter rivals.

Alabama leads the series 57-38-7. The Crimson Tide lead the series in Knoxville, 26-20-1, Tuscaloosa, 10-4, and Birmingham 14-21-6.

Tennessee’s largest margin of victory in the series is 27 points (41-14, 1969 and 1995 respectively). Both of those games were played in Birmingham.

The Volunteers’ largest margin of defeat in the series is 51, which occurred in 1906, when the Tide beat Tennessee 51-0 in Birmingham.

Tennessee’s all-time record in games played on October 24 is 12-4-2, they are currently on a two game losing streak.

The last time a game was played on October 24 came in 2015 (19-14 L). The others came in 2009 (12-10 L to Alabama), 1998 (35-18 W over Alabama), 1987 (29-15 W over Georgia Tech), and 1981 (38-9 W over Memphis State).

Tennessee and Alabama have faced each other four times on October 24. The Vols own a 2-2 record again the Tide on that date, outscoring them 76-75.

Source: Tennessee Football Twitter.

And Then There Was One: Nate Oats, Alabama Crush Pearl, Auburn, 83-64

Alabama Basketball came into Wednesday night’s game vs. Auburn with a chip on its shoulder and almost all of the experts picking against them.

For Alabama, it was all about playing the role of dynasty destroyer as Auburn came into Wednesday night with an unblemished 15-0 record, ranked as the 4th-best team in the nation and as one of two remaining unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I Basketball. Alongside Auburn, was San Diego State.

The Crimson Tide carried a nine-point lead into halftime, 36-27. Alabama rarely, if ever trailed in this game. Shooting 42.9% from field goal range, 28.6% from beyond the arc, and an unbelievable 78.4% from the charity stripe.

Led by Sophomore guard Kira Lewis Jr., with 25 points the Crimson Tide was able to put things in cruise control due in large part to Lewis’ unconscious effort.

Auburn was led by Freshman forward Isaac Okoro, who tallied 13 points in the Tigers’ lone losing effort of the season.

What’s Next:

Auburn (15-1, 3-1 SEC), will head to Gainesville to take on the red-hot Florida Gators on Saturday.

Alabama (9-7, 2-2 SEC), will host Missouri in Coleman Coliseum on Saturday.

Picture: Yahoo Sports.

Tua Tagovailoa Declares Entry into 2020 NFL Draft

The wait is over.

For months following Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending injury against Mississippi State on November 16, 2019, there have been hundreds of questions surrounding Tua’s future in Tuscaloosa, would he stay or would he take a chance at the NFL?

Monday morning at 11 a.m. the Ewa Beach, Hawaii native announced that he will not return for the 2020 college football season. Instead, he will take a shot on the biggest football stage in America.

During the press conference, Tua stated:

“First and foremost, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for this opportunity to stand before you all with my decision. Without further or-due, with lots of prayers, thoughts, and guidance I have decided that I will be declaring and entering the 2020 NFL Draft.”

Who can blame him? It’s not often a 21-year-old from Hawaii gets this opportunity. What an incredible opportunity for such an incredible man.

I would like to take this time to wish Tua nothing but the very best in anything and everything that life brings his way.

College football fans will miss you but NFL fans have gained not only a great player, but also an amazing young man.

Best of luck, Tua!

Picture: Saturday Tradition.

Deja Vu: An Iron Bowl for the Ages

Saturday night, felt like deja vu. I felt like I had seen it before. In fact, I had seen it before, six years to the date earlier when Auburn returned a last second field goal 109 yards to pay dirt.

Although this one was under different circumstances, it will still stand the test of time.

When Zakoby McClain took the football off of an Alabama receivers hands, and returned it 100 yards to the end zone, everything slowed down and I was taken back to 2013.

All I could think about was: “Wow, I wonder what Rod Bramblett is saying now. What would he say if he was still behind the microphone?”

It was absolutely insane. When I got home, I was discussing the game with my brother’s girlfriend, and we were talking about the pick-six. She said “I wonder how he caught that.” I replied, “He didn’t, Rod had a hand in this one.” Her voice got shaky and she replied “He was watching over us.”

Say what you want about the Iron Bowl but when it comes to historic moments, there is nothing like the Iron Bowl.

Picture: NBC Sports.

The Iron Bowl: A Rivalry Like None Other

We all know what the Iron Bowl is so there’s no need to explain it, but in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 83 years, I’ll explain what the Iron Bowl is.

It needs no introduction, it’s the one time a year where families can’t get along, friends become enemies and enemies become friends.

And it’s all because of one thing around the State of Alabama, bragging rights. People talk about this game 24/7, 365 and everybody across the state is tuned into the same game at the same time, every year.

It’s all the bad blood between these two bitter rivals that makes this game what it is. Not to mention the amount of memorable moments from this game that have stood the test of time.

Plays like, “The Kick Six”, “The Camback”, “Bo Over the Top” and Van Tiffin’s kick 34 years ago in 1985 among many, many others.

Teams often claim to have a better rivalry than Alabama, Auburn and the Iron Bowl, but the Iron Bowl is quite clearly the most-bitter, most-historic rivalry in the nation, and anybody from the South will tell you that same thing if you ask them.

Sure, there are rivalry games that have been played more than the Iron Bowl, but when it comes to historic moments, nothing comes close to touching the Iron Bowl.

These two teams simply hate each other, absolutely no love is lost, it’s the one game a year where you can throw everything including the kitchen sink out of the window as you travel down the road, so you can watch it shatter.

Over the past 83 years the Iron Bowl has emanated from several different places and cities around the state. Those places include, Birmingham’s Legion Field, Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl, Tuscaloosa’s Bryant-Denny Stadium, and Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.

But something will be a little different this year, for the first time since 2002, the iconic golden voice of Rod Bramblett won’t be heard over the radio waves.

Instead, Rod’s best friend Andy Burcham will have the call alongside Stan White on the Auburn Sports Network.

This game is bound to have its own historic moments I’m sure, so prepare yourselves, we’ll have our hands full Saturday at 2:30pm CT in the 84th Iron Bowl. Picture: AL.com.

An Open Letter to Tua Tagovailoa

Dear Tua, even though I’m far from an Alabama fan, I say thank you. Thank you for giving a game that needed love your heart.

Thank you for showing the world what it’s like to be a true leader, thank you for encouraging not only your teammates or Alabama fans, but all college football fans.

In the midst of all the things that I’m sure have had your attention over the past few weeks, you showed us something that we all need to know each and every day.

You showed us how to be better fans, men and women, but most importantly you showed us how to be better Christians.

I know that you’re fearing for your career right now, but I also know that you will lean on God during the entire recovery process.

Your tweet Saturday night said it all when you said ‘God always has a plan.’ I wish there were more people like yourself in this world.

Thank you Tua, for making college football and this world a better place.

Godspeed, Braxton Parmer.

How Will the Loss of Tua Tagovailoa Impact Alabama?

Tua Tagovailoa, the highly-touted Alabama quarterback’s season is over after dislocating his hip in the second quarter of a 38-7 win over Mississippi State, on Saturday in Starkville.

The only question is how will his absence impact the rest of the Crimson Tide’s season? Has Nick Saban potentially cost his team an Iron Bowl win?

I said before Saturday that if I was Nick, I wouldn’t have played Tagovailoa, unless we really needed him, which was highly unlikely.

If I was in Nick Saban’s position, I would’ve started Mac Jones and then given Taulia Tagovailoa a chance, to give Tua a chance to heal.

I wouldn’t have played him again until the Iron Bowl, but instead, Saban, being the risk taker that he is, gave Tua the start, not only putting his quarterback’s health in his own hands, but also putting his entire team’s chances in the Iron Bowl in his own hands.

That decision back fired on Saban, who is in his 13th season at Alabama, when Tagovailoa was carted off of the field in the second quarter.

I believe that he has potentially dashed his chances at beating Auburn in the Iron Bowl in Auburn in two weeks because of that one decision. We’re all praying for you Tua.

You’ve got to be smarter, Nick!

Picture: Roll Bama Roll

The Honest Truth Behind Alabama’s “Weak Schedule”

It has been said for years, that Alabama “has a weak schedule” so on and so forth.

But the truth here is the fact that Alabama is only left with a handful of opponents, because schools don’t want to play the Saban-led Tide.

They’re left to choose from teams that are at the bottom of the barrel, teams that are rebuilding.

When people say that the Crimson Tide has a weak schedule, they don’t take into account the fact that nobody is chomping at the bit to play them.

Even though they know that it will help them with experience and they would receive a nice check for games like that, teams honestly are uninterested in playing a team that seemingly dominates year in and year out.

Nick Saban said it best before this season ever started when he said “I tell you what, I’ll give you their phone number and if you can convince them to play us, let us know and we’ll schedule them, but until then, I don’t want to hear the ‘weak schedule’ comment.”

So before you comment on Alabama’s “weak schedule” take into account the honest truth behind their schedule.

Picture: Bleacher Report