The "Third Saturday in October" rivalry between Tennessee and Alabama brings out intensity from both sides, even if it is the fourth Saturday this year.
Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer has been part of the rivalry as a player or coach for 30 games.
"As I do typically, I talked to the players about the history of this game and the great players and great games that have taken place over the years," Fulmer said during Tuesday's media day.
Fulmer will look to guide his team back to .500 against the stiff challenge of the second-ranked and undefeated Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0 SEC) at Neyland Stadium Saturday night.
Tennessee (3-4, 1-3 SEC) is coming off one of its best performances all year, a 34-3 win over Mississippi State where Fulmer said he finally saw his team's practice play translate into game success and physicality.
But something will have to give in a matchup featuring several dueling strengths.
Alabama enters the game second in the conference in points per game with 32.3, and they lead the SEC in rushing offense with 209 yards per game.
Alternately, Tennessee ranks second in total defense and third in rushing defense.
John Parker Wilson has thrown just three interceptions on the year, while Tennessee leads the nation with 14.
"They are a ball-hawking bunch that thrives on turnovers," Alabama coach Nick Saban said during his team's media day Monday.
Tennessee safety Eric Berry has five picks on the season and broke the SEC career interception return yardage record after a 72-yard return for a touchdown against the Bulldogs last week.
But those numbers certainly weren't enough to keep the Crimson Tide from coming into the week as decided favorites, a fact not lost on Fulmer.
"There are no obvious concerns with their football team," he said.
Saban has fueled a Tide resurgence in his second season with sound play on both sides of the ball.
Saban's recipe for success is simple: play stingy defense, control the clock and eliminate mistakes.
Glen Coffee has led Alabama's dominant rushing attack, averaging 108 yards per game which has helped the Tide to a lead in the time of possession category in the SEC.
The result: The Tide had not trailed in a ball game prior to last week's 24-20 win over Ole Miss.
Despite that fact, the Tide have won their last two games against Kentucky and Ole Miss by a total of just seven points.
Tennessee will need to show marked improvement on offense, and they have made some strides under Nick Stephens, who will make his fourth start of the season.
Stephens averages 135.5 yards per game so far, a drop from previous starter Jonathan Crompton. However, Stephens has not thrown an interception and has a 129.6 efficiency rating, a significant improvement over Crompton's 95.8 rating.
"I’ve been pleased with Nick (Stephens) for a first-time starter," Fulmer said.
"His game management has been good, but there’s another step that he can make, and you see progress being made."
Wide receiver Denarius Moore and Stephens have found a connection, hooking up for plays of 40 yards or more in each of the last three games.
With the history involved with this game, Saban knows his team must bring their best to the field Saturday.
"This is a good team," he said. "So regardless of the record in this game, it doesn’t really matter what our (record) is or what their (record) is or anything else.
"We need to bring our A game."
Stephens won't have to contend with Alabama's star defensive tackle Terrence Cody who is out with a knee injury.
Tennessee receiver Gerald Jones is questionable for the game after injuring his ankle against Mississippi State.
The game will be televised nationally by ESPN and is set for a 7:45 p.m. EST kickoff.