Alabama 2015 Common Opponents Preview: Tennessee


Welcome back friends, it’s your turn Volunteers! The Tennessee Volunteers are the fourth common opponent on Alabama’s schedule in 2015. If you’ve missed any of the three common opponent previews you can find them here: Previous Common Opponent Previews.

2014 Recap:

Ahh the “Third Saturday in October”, well actually more times than not it’s now the “Fourth Saturday in October”. There was extra hate to be thrown around last year as Lane Kiffin returned to Knoxville for the first time since leaving them in the middle of the night for USC. I have loved Lane Kiffin ever since that day for what he did to the Vols’ fans. As for the game itself; Alabama cruised to a 34-20 win on the road and Amari Cooper absolutely dominated. Cooper went for an Alabama record 224 yards on nine catches with two touchdowns. Have I mentioned yet that I miss him?

Alabama jumped out to a 27-0 lead and coasted from there. Tennessee tried their best to make it a game coming as close as 27-17 but they were never able to close the gap as Alabama added a Derrick Henry touchdown right before the start of the fourth quarter. Tennessee added a field goal in the fourth but the point was moot and Alabama won by 14.

Amari Cooper had a career night in Lane Kiffin’s return to Knoxville.

Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

When it was all said and done, Amari Cooper broke the Alabama record for receiving yards in one game with 224; a record that Julio Jones had set on that same field four years earlier. Blake Sims threw for 286 yards, but a whopping 78% of those were to Cooper. The Tide also rushed for 183 yards with three touchdowns on the night.

Although Alabama may have won the game handily, this may have been the game that is spring-boarding all of this nonsense Tennessee hype. I say that because this was the game Joshua Dobbs really proved he could be a decent starting QB in the SEC. Oh well, that will just make victory that much sweeter this year.

2015 Look Ahead:

Speaking of this year, the Crimson Tide will host the Volunteers on Saturday October 24th in Bryant Denny Stadium. Alabama will be seeking their NINTH (!!) straight victory against UT. The Volunteers will be (you guessed it!) coming off of a bye; while Alabama will be closing out a brutal four game stretch of at Georgia, Arkansas, at Texas A&M and the Vols. Luckily for Alabama they’ll have a bye right after this game, but we’ll need some things to go our way to get through that stretch 4-0.

Key Losses/Returnees for Tennessee:

What Arkansas has been to the west, Tennessee has been to the east; meaning they’re the trendy pick to possibly get to Atlanta. This year marked the first time since 1963 no Tennessee players were drafted, although they did lose some talent off their defense. One of those key players was LB A.J Johnson who may or may not understand the word “no”. Johnson was suspended mid-season last year among rape accusations. Aside from that the Vols return their starting QB in Josh Dobbs as well as their top running back Jalen Hurd.

Hopefully the Tide can fire up some more victory cigars on October 24th.

Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

As of now it looks like the Vols will return up to 19 starters from a year ago including all 11 from the offensive side of the ball; if so I’ll have to admit that would be pretty damn impressive. However let’s pump the brakes just a little; it’s not exactly like they’re returning an entire national championship squad, they did go 7-6 last year after all.

Alabama leads the overall series 51-38-7, and as I mentioned earlier the Crimson Tide currently have an 8 game winning streak. Hopefully we’ll be able to fire up a new round of victory cigars in celebration of nine in a row come late October, Roll Tide!

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