Alabama football will continue its historic run over Tennessee. Why it will not be close in Knoxville.
There are many reasons why the Tennessee Vols have no chance of upsetting Alabama football. This post would be too long if we listed them all. A game that opened with a 20-point spread has moved to 21.5, and it’s likely that is too low.
Riding a revival story that began last season, Jeremy Pruitt’s Volunteer team opened with two wins and jumped to No. 14 in the AP Poll. At that point, the Vols were on an eight-game winning streak and Pruitt was the ‘Comeback Kid.’
The Georgia Bulldogs provided a shot of reality. The Dawgs ran up 44 points on the Vols and won easily by three-plus touchdowns. The loss only dropped the Vols to No. 18. The Kentucky Wildcats shattered that ranking illusion, winning in Knoxville by almost four touchdowns.
The Vols have not so much collapsed as found their rightful place in the SEC. A team that can win games, but should not have been in any conversation about a Conference Championship.
Losing to Kentucky at home 34-7 was not the lowest point of the past three days in Knoxville. The low point was not even Jeremy Pruitt firing his defensive line coach, Jimmy Brumbaugh. The low point began on Saturday and will linger at least until the Vols’ first possession against the Alabama football defense. The Vols do not have a game-winning, leadership-building, quarterback.
Established starter, senior Jarrett Guarantano was pulled Saturday after a fumble and two, pick-sixes. His first replacement threw another interception. The next guy in, freshman, Harrison Bailey completed one pass.
Pruitt will not tip his hand in advance on whether Guarantano or Bailey will start against the Crimson Tide. Most Vol fans and many Tennessee football insiders are hoping Bailey is the starter. His first pass against the Crimson Tide will be just the fifth of his college career. But, he represents the future of the Tennessee offense. That future will get a rocky start on Rocky Top.
History shows teams rarely beat the Crimson Tide without extraordinary quarterback play. Harrison Bailey will not provide that on Saturday.
For the Vols, the outlook is worse when the Alabama Crimson Tide has the ball. They have not faced a top passing offense. Statically this season, the best passing offense against the Vols is the Missouri Tigers. Mizzou is No. 6 in the SEC in Passing Offense. The other Vols’ win came against South Carolina, with the conference’s No. 11 Passing Offense.
The Vols are No. 8 in the SEC in Rushing Defense and No. 9 in Scoring Defense. Their four 2020 opponents do not come close to the explosive, offensive power of Steve Sarkisian’s Alabama football offense.
Long before the last feeble ‘Rocky Top’ is played Saturday, the Crimson Tide will have notched its 14th consecutive win over Tennessee.