One of the best matchups of the weekend pits the #6 Tennessee Volunteers (5-0, 2-0 SEC) against the #3 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 SEC). Alabama has owned the series recently against Tennessee, winning the last 15 against the Vols.
The kickoff of Saturday’s contest is at 3:30 p.m. EST inside Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. Alabama is a seven-point favorite, and the over/under total is at 65.5 points.
What to Know – #3 Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama is undefeated and one of the top teams in the country, but Saturday’s outcome comes down to the health of star quarterback Bryce Young. The Crimson Tide looked vulnerable last week without Young under center, needing a defensive stop to hold off Texas A&M, 24-20, as a 24-point favorite.
Young’s status will be a major headline heading into Saturday’s matchup, but all signs indicate he should be back quarterbacking the Crimson Tide. When healthy, the Heisman candidate has thrown for over 1,200 yards with 14 touchdown passes.
The Alabama ground game has been unstoppable for the Crimson Tide, with the rushers averaging 7.0 yards per carry combined. Georgia Tech transfer Jahmyr Gibbs leads the team, rushing 64 times for 532 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Gibbs is also third on the team in receiving, catching 22 passes for 220 yards and three scores.
A handful of players have made a significant impact in the passing game. Six Alabama receivers have hauled in double-digit passes, and five have caught multiple touchdown passes. Wideout Traeshon Holden leads the way, hauling in 18 receptions for 223 yards and four scores.
What to Know – #6 Tennessee Volunteers
The Vols carry a lot of momentum into Saturday’s bout after a 40-13 trashing of LSU last weekend in Baton Rouge. Tennessee has a chance to re-establish themselves as one of the top-tier teams in the SEC.
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker transferred to Knoxville from Virginia Tech, and it has paid off. The senior quarterback hasn’t thrown an interception in 239 attempts, and a passing touchdown on Saturday would mark his 18th straight game with a TD pass.
Jaylen Wright and Jabari Smalls have handled the rushing duties evenly for Tennessee. The two rushers have combined for 626 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Hooker is right behind the two backs, adding 231 yards and three touchdowns.
With starting wide receiver Cedric Tillman missing time, Jalin Hyatt and USC transfer Bru McCoy have emerged as the prime targets for Hooker. Hyatt leads the team with 27 receptions and five touchdowns, while McCoy has caught 20 passes for 351 yards and two scores.
The Pick is In
Alabama’s roster has more talent, but even with a healthy Bryce Young, there is something about this Tennessee team that tells us not to overlook them at home and take the points. We like the Vols to keep this within a touchdown.
The Pick: Tennessee Volunteers +7