Across the board, week seven sees most SEC teams facing evenly matched opponents. Missouri heads in to Gainesville to challenge No. 18 Florida, and No. 12 Ole Miss travels to Fayetteville to take on No. 22 Arkansas.
However, the Rebels aren’t on upset alert. Instead, the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide should be wary of an upset when they travel to Neyland Stadium this Saturday to take on the No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers.
Tennessee has lost to Alabama for the last nine years in a row, which is now the team’s longest losing streak, since getting Florida off its back in late September. This is the final game of the Vols’ tough four-game stretch and comes before a bye week, so expect them to leave it all on the field.
With the emergence of Alvin Kamara as a true running back, both in the running and passing game, it would seem likely that he will be starting over Jalen Hurd, who is returning this week from an injury he suffered against Georgia two weeks ago. It would make sense for Kamara, who eclipsed 125 yards on the ground and over 160 yards receiving, to start Saturday. However, we all know Butch Jones, so don’t be surprised to see Hurd get the first carry.
These two look to carry the offense, along with quarterback Josh Dobbs. The offensive line, even through injuries, looked great last week against a tough Aggies defense. The glaring weakness last week, besides turnovers, was the receivers. If the receivers step up, and Tennessee can cut out the turnovers, then this game could shape up to be a classic.
Let’s not forget who the Vols are playing though, the Crimson Tide. Alabama is coached by Nick Saban, who always poses a problem. The Tide have been unstoppable this season, and their freshman quarterback has yet to be rattled.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts has led his team to a perfect 6-0 start, winning big road games at both Ole Miss and Arkansas. In each of those games, Hurts led the offense to nearly 50 points. While Hurts has experienced a road game in the SEC, a rivalry game at Neyland Stadium could be the most hostile environment he’ll face all year.
Tennessee has found its identity, and won’t go quietly into the night, fighting until the bitter end. Alabama is a great team, but everyone knows Saban’s achilles’ heel is a dual-threat quarterback. Look for Dobbs to have a big game and the crowd to be a difference-maker until the last second. Alabama’s freshman quarterback has yet to see one hundred thousand fans rooting against him, so it’s anyone’s guess how this one will end.
Edited by Dalton King
Featured image by Hodor Groot, courtesy of creativecommons.org