Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Line: Alabama by 28.
Radio: 95.5 FM
1. Finish early: Tennessee is extremely confident coming off a 23-21 victory over South Carolina. The Vols also played well the week before against Georgia. If Alabama lets Tennessee hang around, the Vols have shown they have the ability to steal a win.
2. Stop the run: The Volunteers have a strong running game led by tailback Rajion Neal, who has rushed for 693 yards and eight touchdowns and averages 99 yards a game. This will be the Tide’s second straight opponent that likes to use a power running game. The Vols’ massive offensive line does a good job of creating holes for its running backs.
3. Stay for four: Tide coach Nick Saban spoke out against fans and students leaving games early. Saban wants the fans to stay for 60 minutes because the players have to play for 60 minutes. He said it makes the organization look bad to recruits when the stands are empty. It will be interesting to see how the fans respond to Saban’s admonishment. If this game gets out of hand, will fans stick around and continue to be loud? Or will they exit early like they have for every other blowout this season? Saban has spoken. Question is, will the fans listen?
4. Avoid injuries: Alabama is just one game away from its bye week before another showdown with LSU. The last thing the Tide wants is an injury to a key player, so this will be another opportunity to get the game over early and get the starters some rest, especially the guys who have nagging injuries.
Alabama’s defensive line vs. Tennessee offensive line: Tennessee has a massive offensive line and loves to pound away with the running game. The Vols average 202 rushing yards a game while Alabama only allows 98 yards a game. It will be a test of wills. It will be important for Alabama’s defensive line to get some push up front, particularly in the middle, to slow the Vols’ ground game. If Alabama can make Tennessee one dimensional, it will be a long day for the Vols.
Tennessee has been a hot team for the past two weeks, but the Vols aren’t in the same class as Alabama. The Crimson Tide has hit its stride and is playing its best football of the season. Expect another easy victory in this rivalry for the Tide. ... Alabama 41, Tennessee 13.