The Tennessee Vols and the Alabama Crimson Tide are in two completely different places as college football programs.
Alabama is an established powerhouse that’s won at least 11 games for eight straight seasons.
Tennessee has won 11 games total since the start of the 2017 season.
The Vols are trying to establish something special under Jeremy Pruitt, but it’s obvious they’re a few years away from being relevant in the SEC Championship picture.
But that doesn’t mean Tennessee can’t find a way to upset Alabama on Saturday night. While it’s not something I’m expecting, Bama coach Nick Saban could at least see it happening.
The closest the Vols have come to upsetting Alabama in the last 13 years was in 2009 in Tuscaloosa. Tennessee had a chance to win the game with a 44 yard field goal. Daniel Lincoln’s attempt, however, was blocked by Terrence Cody, preserving a 12-10 win for the Tide.
Alabama went on to win the national championship in 2009 with a perfect record of 14-0. The Vols finished 7-6 in Lane Kiffin’s lone season on Rocky Top. Even then, the two programs were in two completely different places, but the Vols still managed to nearly pull off the upset.
Earlier this week, Saban compared this year’s Tennessee team to the 2009 team that almost spoiled Alabama’s title run.
— Alabama Athletics (@UA_Athletics) October 17, 2019
Saban said this year’s Vol team is the “same kind of team” with the “same kind of record” as the 2009 squad (the 2009 team was 3-3 when they played Alabama, but it could be argued the Vols are one blown coverage away from being 3-3 this year).
Jim Chaney was the offensive coordinator for the Vols in 2009 and he’ll be in the box on Saturday night calling plays. Chaney knows what it takes to put up a fight against Alabama — there’s not a better offensive coordinator that Tennessee could have in place.
I’m certainly not expecting an upset (or really even a close game) on Saturday evening in Tuscaloosa. But at some point, it’s all going to come together for Pruitt and the Vols.
Perhaps it will be against Alabama.
Crazier things have happened.
Featured image via Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports