1. At Alabama Crimson Tide
Saturday, Oct. 23; Bryant-Denny Stadium; Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Obviously, the Alabama Crimson Tide are almost always the toughest team on Tennessee football’s schedule. However, there is no way possible to make the game tougher than it will be this year, and that’s scary.
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Nick Saban has one of his most talented Bama teams ever once again, even with so much talent being replace. The Vols have to face the Tide on the road. In terms of ownership and history, Alabama has its longest winning streak ever against the Vols at 14 games, and Saban has actually won 15 straight against the program while enjoying a 16-1 record overall.
Then there’s where this game lands on the schedule. The Vols have to face the Tide on Oct. 23. That will be their eighth straight game without a bye, meaning they’ll be seriously banged up, which is a huge problem for a team as thin as Josh Heupel’s already.
Simply put, there’s nothing you could point to for a glimmer of hope. Normally, when the Vols play far superior teams, there is one factor you could name that may work in their advantage. That’s not the case for when they play Alabama this year, and it makes winning all but impossible. Hey, maybe it’s an omen. What if no advantage is the advantage?
Okay, we’re kidding. But there is some good news with this. Tennessee football doesn’t have to waste one of its positive scheduling factors, like a home game or a game late into a period without a bye, against a winnable team. They burn it up against their most sure loss.