It appears it’s going to be another season in which Alabama is in the College Football Playoff unless someone else in the SEC really improves. The Crimson Tide may not have a great defense, but their offense is again one of the best in the country even without Tua Tagovailoa.
Alabama followed back-to-back 50-plus-point outings with 41 points against Georgia, who had what was thought to be one of the better defenses around.
Tide Offense Rolling
Mac Jones was unstoppable, throwing for 417 yards and four touchdowns on 13.0 yards per attempt, while Najee Harris added another 152 yards on 4.9 yards per carry. Again, those numbers were against probably the best defense in the SEC.
Some will look to last year’s meeting as a reason to take Tennessee (35-13 Alabama win), but it’s important to remember Tagovailoa got hurt in that game after completing 11 of his first 12 passes. If he didn’t get hurt, the Tide probably would’ve scored 50-plus points, which is on the board in this game.
Jones has been excellent this season, averaging 13.2 yards per attempt for 12 touchdowns and completing 78.3% of his passes. He’s helped by the best receiving corps in the country, as Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith and John Metchie all have the ability to go off in every game.
It doesn’t help opponents that Bama’s rushing attack is also elite with Harris averaging 6.0 yards per rush for 499 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Vols Dropped Two Straight
Tennessee had a fine start to the season, but it’s lost its last two games, 44-21 to Georgia and 34-7 to Kentucky. If you can’t stop either of those offenses, it’s unlikely the Volunteers will stop this one.
The same goes for the other side of the ball because the Vols struggled to move the chains against Kentucky, failing to surpass 300 total yards while turning it over four times.
Tennessee’s best chance of covering is through its quarterback and after the last game, it has a quarterback battle. Jarrett Guarantano has had a brutal season and was benched for freshman Harrison Bailey in the loss to UK.
Even if the Vols have some success rushing the ball in this matchup, that’s probably not going to be enough to cover. Running backs Eric Gray and Ty Chandler have been solid, but if they don’t get any production from their quarterbacks, they’ll have trouble surpassing 20 points, similar to last year’s matchup.
And similar to most Alabama games, it’s rarely a good idea to bet against them. The Tide should be set for at least 40 points and if that happens, the lone way for the Vols to cover will be to score close to 20. That doesn’t even include the possibility the Tide score over 50 points, which was the case against A&M and Ole Miss.
The difference for Tennessee is that it has quarterback questions and probably doesn’t have the offense to put 30 points on the board, even in a down season for the ‘Bama defense.
Our model predicts an Alabama win by the score of 48-26. So, an Alabama cover, just barely, and over the total.
Alabama -21 and OVER 64