Tennessee will have their hands full with LSU this week, and things won’t get much easier for the eighth-ranked Vols after their clash with the 25th-ranked Tigers in Baton Rouge. After his first SEC road game of the season, Josh Heupel The team will return to Neyland Stadium for three consecutive home games, beginning with the annual game against Alabama in the third Saturday of October rivalry. The SEC revealed kickoff times and television designations for its Oct. 15 games on Monday, and the Vols and Crimson Tide were tabbed for a 3:30 p.m. debut on CBS.
In addition to Tennessee-Alabama, the SEC schedule for this week includes four other conference fixtures: Vanderbilt at Georgia, Mississippi State at Kentucky, Auburn at Ole Miss and LSU at Florida. Arkansas is also in action, facing BYU in Provo. Texas A&M, South Carolina and Missouri are open dates.
This will be Tennessee’s second CBS game of the season (and Alabama’s third in a row) — the Vols beat Florida at Neyland Stadium in the SEC’s best kickoff slot last month.
After losing first place to Georgia earlier this season, Alabama regained first place in both polls this week following a 49-26 victory at Arkansas, coupled with the Bulldogs who struggled in a victory of four points against Missouri. The Tide took a 28-0 lead at Fayetteville, but lost the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young to a shoulder injury in the process. After Arkansas closed at 28-23, Alabama snatched 21 points to put the hosts away and turn to their matchup with struggling Texas A&M this week.
Alabama opened as a 23.5-point favorite against Texas A&M in a game that will get a lot of attention after Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisherman had their public row during the offseason, when the former accused his former offensive coordinator of using NIL inappropriately to land the No. 1 recruiting class.
Despite the loss of Young, the Tide has banished his road issues from the past two seasons. In addition to losing at Texas A&M, Alabama had to survive scares at Florida and Auburn last season. In its second game of the season, Alabama was lucky to come out of Texas with a 20-19 win on a late field goal in an uneven, penalty-laden performance.
76 and 72 yard touchdown runs by Georgia Tech transfer running back Jahmyr Gibbs helped Alabama pull away from Arkansas after Young’s injury led to a save Jalen Milroe having to play more than half the game – completed 4 of 9 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown and added 91 rushing yards (including a 77-yard rush) and a score.
“Bryce has a minor AC sprain in his shoulder,” Saban said after the game. “We will have to take it day by day. I think he’s fine. He has no serious injury. We didn’t think he could get back into the game today because I didn’t think he had much steam to get the ball going. He’s had it before, and in a few days he starts to react quite well, so we’ll just have to see how it goes and play day to day.
Tennessee beat Florida for its second win in 18 tries in this series dating back to 2005, and the Vols have an even bigger monkey to throw off their back against Alabama, who have won the last 15 games in this rivalry. traditional, many of them by wide margins. The Tide won 52-24 in Tuscaloosa last season, but the game was closer than the final scoreline suggests. Tennessee trailed by just one touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but Alabama responded when pushed and scored three touchdowns to put the game aside.
The Vols’ last victory against the tide was in 2006, the year before Alabama hired Saban.