Alabama will play host to SEC rival Tennessee this weekend, but in truth, this game is just about the Crimson Tide biding their time before what will surely be one of the most highly anticipated college football regular season games in quite some time, LSU vs. Alabama on November 5th. That game will feature the top 2 ranked teams in the country, both (presumably) still undefeated and coming off a week of rest, with the winner being declared the outright favorite to win the national title game. In other words, good luck to the Volunteers this weekend, they’ll need it.
Tennessee is 3-3 on the year and have had some up and down performances. Their wins have come against very modest opponents though, while they have lost all three in-conference games, to Florida, Georgia and LSU. They played LSU last weekend, number 1 in the land, and lost 38-7. Now just seven days later they have to play the number 2 team in the country, this time on the road.
It’s not an enviable schedule, and Tennessee won’t be bringing many advantages into the game. They’ve been average on defense, ranking 45th nationally with 23.3 points per game allowed and 43rd in yards per game allowed with 350. The offense features a very strong passing game with Tyler Bray throwing 14 TDs against just 2 picks, and completing 66% of his passes for 1,579 yards, but a weak running game which ranks a terrible 114th out of 120 in yards.
Alabama meanwhile has looked sensational this season. They’re winning by an average of over 32 points per outing, as they put up nearly 40 per game, 14th in the country, and give up just 7 points per game on average, 1st in the nation. They also rank 1st in the nation in yards per game allowed, just 184.1. The defense is ferocious and filled with NFL caliber players at nearly every position.
Meanwhile, Trent Richardson has been tearing things up on offense. He already has 912 yards and a mind boggling 15 TDs. Meanwhile AJ McCarron has turned himself into a dependable starter, completing 67% of his passes for 1,380 yards and 9 TDs versus just 2 INTs. His job, in truth, is just to keep the defense honest so Richardson can bust through them, and to not make any mistakes, so that defense can continue shutting down the opposition. Anything more than that is a major plus for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, and that’s what he’s been thus far.
Looking at the official numbers for the game, Alabama is a 29 point favorite to beat Tennessee at home. The over/under for the game is at 46 points. For one thing, take the over, as Alabama is going to light up the scorecard. For another, take Alabama to cover that huge spread. Tennessee lost to LSU last week, at home, by 31 points. They won’t do better on the road against the Crimson Tide.