Alabama vs. Tennessee Prediction, Game Preview

    Alabama vs. Tennessee prediction and game preview. The Crimson Tide has their eye on the College Football Playoff, and will try to continue their run as they take on the Volunteers.

    October 19, 2015

    Tennessee (3-3) last beat Alabama (6-1) in 2006, and nothing would jumpstart the second half of the season more than coming up with a huge performance to steal win on the road. The Crimson Tide came back roaring after the loss to Ole Miss, and now they’re looking like true national title contenders again. Check out the Alabama vs. Tennessee prediction and game preview.

    Alabama vs. Tennessee Game Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, Oct. 24
    Game Time: 3:30 pm
    Venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL
    Network: CBS

    Follow, Contact @PeteFiutak

    Why You Need To Care

    Tennessee just can’t seem to get its season going. With heartbreaking losses to Oklahoma and Florida, and struggling late against Arkansas, the Vols haven’t had the first half everyone was expecting. The second half gets a whole bunch easier after this – going to Kentucky and Missouri really isn’t a big deal – but even with a win over Alabama, the East title is all but out of reach. Even so, getting by the Crimson Tide would be massive for head coach Butch Jones and a program that’s still trying to rebuild the powerhouse.

    Alabama is playing at a whole other level. It hasn’t been a tough formula since the loss to Ole Miss – play better, stronger defense than just about everyone else, and power the running game to take control early. With wins over Wisconsin, Georgia, Arkansas and Texas A&M all by double-digits – and throw in the win over Middle Tennessee to make it five wins so far over teams that’ll probably end up in a bowl game. This begins a run of home games playing three of the next four in Tuscaloosa, with a big week off to prepare for LSU coming up next. For now, just getting by Tennessee in the rivalry game would be good enough.

    Why Tennessee Will Win

    It’s sort of crazy considering how good the Alabama running game has been to set up second-and-third-and-shorts, but the offense isn’t doing much of anything on third downs. It hasn’t mattered since the Crimson Tide are taking care of business on the first two downs, but if Tennessee can just do something, anything to put the game in Jake Coker’s hands needing to move the chains, the D has a shot. Against Georgia the Bama O converted just 1-of-12 third down chances, and last week against Texas A&M it hit just 4-of-16 tries. Tennessee has been fantastic in key moments, at least before the fourth quarter, ranking 15th in the nation in third down conversion defense.

    Why Alabama Will Win

    The Crimson Tide offensive line is killing it right now. Tennessee’s defense is getting stronger and tougher compared to recent years, but Arkansas was able to crank up the power a few weeks ago and Georgia came up with just enough big runs to get by – the Bulldogs didn’t do enough to commit to the run. This might not be Bama’s best line under Nick Saban, but it powered away for over 300 rushing yards in four key games this year, and ran for 189 yards against Georgia. Throw in the solid pass protection, and everything is working offensively up front. Now it gets to go against a Volunteer defense that doesn’t do enough to get to the quarterback.

    Player Who Matters

    Is it possible for Alabama’s Derrick Henry to get into the Heisman chase? It’s Leonard Fournette’s world and everyone is living in it, but Henry showed off against Texas A&M that he’s every bit as strong and every bit as effective – almost. He ran for 236 yards and two scores in the win over the Aggies, but last year he only ran for 78 yards and a score against the Vols. Kenyan Drake is supposed to be back and fine after getting hit in the leg last week, but the ground game still falls on Henry.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Tennessee will come out balling. Joshua Dobbs will get hot early and make the Crimson Tide press, but like a steady drip, Henry and the running game will be effective enough to take control as the game goes on. The Vol offense will hit a wall in the second half.

    Alabama vs. Tennessee Prediction

    Final Score: Alabama 34, Tennessee 20, Line: Alabama -15.5, o/u: 56

    Must See Rating: 5: Bridge of Spies – 1: Rock The Kasbah … 4

    MORE: Midseason SEC Championship Prediction

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