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Alabama-Tennessee Series: Notebook



Oct. 24, 2008

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama leads the all-time series with Tennessee, 45-38-7, in a series that dates back to the 1901 season. The Crimson Tide posted a 41-17 victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium last season and seeks its first back-to-back series wins since the 1991-92 campaigns. Alabama posted a 24-19 win over Tennessee at Legion Field in 1991 and then claimed a 17-10 win at Neyland Stadium in 1992. The Crimson Tide has not won in Knoxville since a 34-13 victory during the 2002 season.

One of college football's most colorful series celebrates its 91st renewal this Saturday as the Alabama Crimson Tide meets the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville. The Tide and Vols have met every year since 1928, with the exception of the 1943 season when neither school fielded a football team due to World War II.

The first meeting took place Nov. 28, 1901 in Birmingham, when the two schools played to a 6-6 deadlock. Alabama posted an 8-1-1 record in the first 10 meetings with Tennessee, including eight shutouts, before the series was halted from 1915-27.

The series resumed on Oct. 20, 1928, the first of 66 consecutive meetings on the third Saturday in October, with Tennessee claiming a 15-13 win in Tuscaloosa. Alabama won 11 consecutive games (1971-81) over Tennessee to gain the upper hand in the series.

The 2007 meeting was the eighth in series history in Tuscaloosa. Tennessee posted a seven-game winning streak (1995-2001) over Alabama, marking the Vols longest winning streak in series history, also the longest by any opponent against Alabama. UA snapped that streak with a 34-13 win in Knoxville in 2002.

THIRD SATURDAY IN OCTOBER: For 66 years the annual Alabama-Tennessee game was simply referred to as "The Third Saturday in October."  Alabama and Tennessee first played on the traditional third Saturday date Oct. 20, 1928. The tradition continued through the 1994 season. In 1995, the Southeastern Conference Office realigned its conference football schedule, putting an end to the 66-year tradition. The Oct. 14, 1995 game was played on the second Saturday in October. Since 1996, Alabama and Tennessee have met on the third Saturday in October six times, including the 2006 and 2007 games. The series became so popular that the late Al Browning, former sports editor of The Tuscaloosa News and Knoxville News-Sentinel, wrote a book entitled Third Saturday in October, recapping each game in this tradition-rich football series. 

NON-THIRD SATURDAY CLASHES: Alabama and Tennessee have met 18 times when the game was not played on the third Saturday in October. Alabama owns a 9-8-1 (.527) record in games not played on the third Saturday in October.  The 2008 game marks the first time since 2005 the teams will not meet on the famed "Third Saturday in October." 

SABAN VERSUS THE VOLS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban has compiled a 3-1 (.750) career record against Tennessee, including last year's 41-17 win over the Vols in Tuscaloosa. He joined W.B. Blount (1903), Jack Leavenworth (1905), J.W.H. Pollard (1906), D.V. Graves (1912), Red Drew (1947), Bill Curry (1987) and Gene Stallings (1990) as the UA coaches to win their first game against Tennessee.  Prior to the 2007 season, Saban last faced Tennessee during the 2001 season at LSU. On Sept. 30, 2000, Saban led LSU to a 38-31 overtime win over Tennessee at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. The following year, on Sept. 29, Tennessee posted a 26-18 overtime win over LSU at Neyland Stadium. LSU beat Tennessee, 30-21, on Dec. 8, 2001 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to win the SEC Championship. 
UA-UT SERIES RANKINGS: History shows that when Alabama and Tennessee meet on the gridiron at least one team will be residing in the current Associated Press or USA Today Coaches poll. This year is no exception. Alabama is the consensus No. 2 team this week, while Tennessee is not ranked. This is the highest ranked Alabama team to play Tennessee since the 1993 season when the teams battled to a 17-17 tie at Birmingham's Legion Field. This is also the highest ranked Alabama team to play at Neyland Stadium since No. 2 Alabama beat Tennessee 56-28 in 1986. Tennessee is unranked while playing Alabama for the first time since 2000, when neither team was in the Top 25. At least one team has been ranked, in one poll or the other, every year since 1959, with the exception of 1968, 1984 and 2000. The 2000 season also marked the first time since 1955 that neither team entered the game with a winning record. The Crimson Tide was 3-3 entering the 2000 game, while the Volunteers were 2-3. Since 1939, the highest ranked team has compiled a 44-9-2 record in the Alabama-Tennessee series. 

ALABAMA-TENNESSEE TV RESULTS: The 2007 game marks the 31st televised game in series history.  The Alabama-Tennessee game has been televised every year since 1989.  The Crimson Tide owns a 15-13-2 record over the Volunteers in televised games. This is the first Alabama-Tennessee game to be played on ESPN since the Tide's 34-14 win in Knoxville in 2002.