OFFENSE

Advantage: Alabama

Tennessee's QB situation is up in the air between Brian Maurer or Jarrett Guarantano. The Vols are 11th in the SEC in passing while DeVonta Smith and Alabama is No. 2. UT isn't much better rushing (12th in SEC) while Alabama is picking up speed in the run game (8th in SEC).

 

DEFENSE

Advantage: Alabama

Anfernee Jennings and the Crimson Tide had five sacks last week and stepped up its run defense, holding Texas A&M to 125 yards, 73 of which came in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand. The Vols have a respectable overall defense, but allow 160 rushing yards per game.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Advantage: Even

Will Reichard could be back on the field after missing the last two games with a pulled hip flexor. Joseph Bulovas has done well in his absence. Jaylen Waddle looks to stay hot after last week's career-day of 128 punt return yards. UT is 11 of 12 with field goals and perfect on PATs.

 

COACHING

Advantage: Alabama

In Year 2 in Knoxville, Jeremy Pruitt has a lot of good coaches with lots of football knowledge on the staff, but it's going to take some time for it to all come together. No such problem with Nick Saban and his newly-assembled Tide staff, who continue to get the most out of Tide players.

 

INTANGIBLES

Advantage: Alabama

Alabama has been challenged twice during its 12-game win streak against the Vols (2009, 2015). Both of those games were at home. The Crimson Tide has too much at stake to let this be a nail biter. Besides, Alabama doesn't want to waste all those good cigars they brought to light up at the end.

 

PREDICTION

Alabama 56, Tennessee 21

The last time Alabama lost to Tennessee most of the Crimson Tide players were in elementary school. That's a big physiological edge for Alabama. Tennessee is not where it needs to be to make this game competitive. Cigar smoke will be floating around Bryant-Denny Stadium amid the crimson LED lights by the third quarter.