No, according to the calendar, it's not technically the 3rd Saturday in October (we'll cover that in a minute). But it is Alabama-Tennessee week, and that's something special, regardless of records or anything else. I grew up in Opelika, so my primary preoccupation is Auburn-Alabama, but I always reserved a special place in my soul for UT week. And I think most 'Bama fans my dad's age -- as well as most 'Bama fans who grew up in the Tennessee Valley or (God forbid) in the state of Tennessee -- have always regarded the Vols with an equal level -- if not a superior one -- of hatred and loathing.
And it's in that vein that I'm willing to throw myself into this week's Crimson & White (& Orange) Roundtable. The host is 3rd Saturday in Blogtober, who's hosting a joint venture on their own site this week.
And with that, we're off.
Both teams at some point or another have been described as an Evil Empire. If your team is the Death Star, what is its planet-destroying weapon?
There are a number of facets on this Alabama team that are dangerous -- however, the team's (and the program's) biggest asset remains on the sidelines. When you're getting text messages from your Auburn friends telling you that they think your team is the best-coached team in the nation, that's saying something.
So is this stat: Alabama now owns a ridiculous (90-something to 3) advantage in first-quarter scoring. And we've trailed for slightly less than a minute -- last week vs. Ole Miss -- all season long. What does that mean? Simply that the staff is implementing an outstanding game plan, and the players are executing it damn near to perfection.
What is its two meter wide exhaust port?
Depth, depth and depth. Alabama simply can't afford injuries at key spots, as they showed in their ugly effort against Tulane. Curiously, they're dealing with an injury this week to behemoth nose-guard Terrence Cody. Hmmmmm ...
Everyone is looking forward to Eric Berry vs. Julio Jones. What is the next matchup you'll be keying on in this game?
Alabama-Tenessee games are almost always decided up front. That's just the way it is. And with Alabama's much-improved play up front, the Tide suddenly looks like they can actually match Tennessee on the line for studs this time around. Of course, there's that injury thing ...
The Tide and Vols will scrap it out under the lights at Neyland. Do you like this arrangement and does the later kickoff time provide an advantage to either team?
As a writer, I have a natural aversion to late anything -- deadline pressure and all. It's great for the fans because of the natural advantages to long, drunken tailgating days (not so great for postgame, when everyone decides to leave at once).
Any advantages to either team? Not really, I guess -- Alabama has played its best at night and away from home, so there's that.
Since the Tide had a bye week and the Vols didn't bother to play that weekend either (zing!) we're going to say this is the Third Saturday in October just to justify the name of one of the greatest rivalries in college football. In three thousand words or less, turn over the kettles of white-hot liquid hate upon thine enemy.
I decided to go with the less, and simply cede this section to my friend.
Like him, I hate Tennessee. And like him, I think you should, too.