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SEC Football Pick
It was only a month ago when Tennessee let go of a lead they had on Florida. A lot has changed since then. The Volunteers now have three losses and are unranked while the Gators are ranked No. 2 and haven't lost yet. Of course, everyone knows Alabama who are 6-0, but they haven't been as kind to bettors. The Crimson Tide are just 3-3 against the spread this year. However, it's important to note they have covered four straight road games and this one happens to be in Knoxville.
The Volunteers have one of the worst defenses in the SEC and it won't get any easier for them this weekend. It doesn't matter who Alabama plays, they can put points on the board against almost anyone with a balanced attack.
AJ McCarron doesn't have outlandish numbers, but it's important to note they are better than last year. In fact, his rating (171.9) is almost 25 points better than what it was in 2011. The major reason for that increase is his mark of zero interceptions. When you don't get turnovers from Alabama, it's that much harder to beat them. McCarron also has 1,170 and 12 touchdowns on the season. The receivers are balanced as well, led by Amari Cooper with 21 receptions, 263 yards and three TDs. Their ground game is tops with Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon who both have over 65 carries, 425 yards and combine for 11 touchdowns.
The Volunteers have not been able to stop anyone this year, allowing over 31 points per game. In three SEC games (all losses), that average rises to 43. Their offense has been the lone bright spot, although as seen in the losses, it isn't bright enough.
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Tyler Bray has done as much as he can, but that's not a good thing. Going back to those three SEC games, Bray has an even six TDs and six INTs. He already has 1,730 yards and 16 TDs on the year, but again, his worst three games of the season are against SEC opponents. Wide receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson will need to be big for Bray in the passing game. Both of them are explosive players that can make things happen for the offense. Starting running back Rajion Neal is doubtful to play in this game which doesn't help matters. Carries will probably be split between sophomore's Marlin Lane and Devrin Young. The two have combined for only 63 carries on the year.
Unfortunately for Tennessee, Alabama also has one of the best defenses in the country. The most points the Crimson Tide has allowed all year was 14 against Michigan and Ole Miss. They have shut out two opponents including Arkansas on the road.
This weekend could easily be a repeat of the last two game's played between the two teams. Alabama covered in both of those games outscoring Tennessee 78 to 16. The Volunteers have not won in this meeting since 2006.
It's difficult to make a case for the Vols here. If we were to try, it would go something like this: No one has come close to the Tide this year, but really, who have they played? Their toughest opponent was Ole Miss and they have played 4 of their 6 games at home. It's virtually impossible for a college football team to go through an 11 or 12 game schedule without a mental lapse. A clunker. A game where they get caught looking ahead or simply thinking all they have to do is show up to get a "W". Is this that spot for Bama? Do the Vols put it all together here before over 100,000 dressed in orange and throw a scare into the Tide? It's not impossible. This is SEC football and these kids have talent.
We don't advise laying this kind of number in college football, let alone in an SEC game. But if you do plan on playing the Tide, make sure you do so before the number hits -21 or higher. We wouldn't be surprised to see the Vols play well in this spot. But our numbers show that it's likely to be all Alabama capped off by our model which says 48-10 in favor of the Tide. Alabama -20
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