tennessee football will host the Alabama Crimson Tide in the biggest conference game of the season
After outscoring LSU 40-13 on the road last week, the Vols head home to take on the undefeated Crimson Tide. The Vols are undefeated against conference opponents since beating Florida 38-33.
Backup quarterback Jalen Milroe replaced Bryce Young in Alabama’s 24-20 win over Texas A&M last week and completed 12 passes for 111 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Young was out with shoulder pain last week and it’s a game time decision for Saturday’s game.
Will the Vols upset the undefeated Crimson Tide? Here’s what our experts had to say.
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Adam Sparks, Tennessee football reporter
Alabama 34, Tennessee 28: The Neyland Stadium will be in turmoil and the match will be biting. If Bryce Young doesn’t play because of his shoulder injury, the Vols win a close one. But if Young, the defending Heisman Trophy winner, is in the lineup, Alabama pulls him out. So pin this prediction on Young playing the whole game and playing well.
Beaten Alabama reporter Nick Kelly
Alabama 41, Tennessee 31: That’s if Young is playing. Really, it’s a whole different game if Young doesn’t play, even if Milroe plays better than he did in his first start. If Young can’t go, Tennessee gets the go-ahead. A Young-led offense can take advantage of Tennessee’s vulnerable secondary.
Tommy Deas, sportswriter
Alabama 31, Tennessee 27: If the unruly Alabama team that showed up against Texas and Texas A&M shows up, Tennessee breaks Nick Saban’s long streak on rival Alabama. But that’s not what I expect. The Crimson Tide running game will keep Hendon Hooker on the sidelines enough to make a difference no matter who plays quarterback for Alabama.
Gentry Estes, sports columnist
Alabama 38, Tennessee 27: We’ve seen this before with Nick Saban and Alabama questioned. I think they will play their best.
Chase Goodbread, sports columnist
Alabama 34, Tennessee 31: Like last week, Alabama is a tough call with a starting quarterback whose playing status is unknown. Bryce Young thinks he has a much better chance of playing this week, though, and he’s the difference UA badly needs to keep up the scoring pace with Tennessee.
Blake Toppmeyer, SEC columnist
Alabama 37, Tennessee 34: The Crimson Tide need their Heisman Trophy winner, Bryce Young, back in the lineup to beat the Vols. I think Young is playing in this game. The atmosphere inside Neyland Stadium will be noisy, but Young is the steady hand who knows how to calm the waters. He did it in Texas, and his return from a shoulder injury will allow the Crimson Tide to walk a tightrope again in a game where Hendon Hooker will bolster his own Heisman bid, should they lose.
John Adams, sports columnist
Tennessee 34, Alabama 27: Vols coach Josh Heupel’s quick and spread offense is the right system to beat the tide. He could also have the right defensive system if Heisman Trophy quarterback Bryce Young is unable to play — or isn’t at the top of his game due to a throwing shoulder injury.