The Last Time Alabama Lost to Tennessee: 5,000 Days and Counting
You may have noticed a few extra Alabama-Tennessee items on BamaCentral recently including Rocky Block, the The Bear Playing on a Broken Leg, and Smoking A Cigar on the Third Saturday in October, and it wasn't a coincidence.
Today, June 28, 2020, marks day No. 5,000 since the last time the Volunteers managed to pull off a win against Alabama football in the Third Saturday in October rivalry.
That's a lot of Rammer Jammer, and very little Rocky Top played at games (well, as little as possible considering the Pride of the Southland Band will use any excuse to blast it, from a first down to forcing the Crimson Tide to punt).
The Alabama–Tennessee rivalry has almost always been known for streaks, but this is the longest yet, and corresponds to Nick Saban arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2007.
Overall, Saban is 14-1 in his career against the Vols, the lone loss when he was at LSU, and in overtime. The Tigers forced a rematch in the SEC Championship Game and won 30-21.
The Crimson Tide leads the all-time series, 56-38-7, but here's how far the rivalry has dropped off since Lane Kiffin's team took a 12-10 loss in 2009,
In each of the last four matchups, the Crimson Tide was ranked No. 1 at the time.
In each of the last 13 games, Alabama was ranked in the top 10.
Meanwhile, Alabama has faced Tennessee only once since 2007 when the Volunteers were ranked in the AP Top 25, No. 9 in 2016, when they were coached by Butch Jones.
He's now an Alabama analyst.
Two years ago, UT athletic director Phillip Fulmer, who was the head coach when Saban started to dominate the rivalry, hired Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to take over the program.
Last season, Tennessee had six coaches on staff who had been at Alabama: Pruitt, Derrick Ansley, Chris Rumph, Chris Weinke, Kevin Sherrer and Brian Niedermeyer. Offensive line coach Will Friend had also played for the Crimson Tide from 1993-96 (Note: Rumph and Sherrer are no longer in Knoxville).
“Well, if you know anything about this rivalry, which I do, anybody that’s been associated with this rivalry over their lifetime know it’s a pretty special event or ballgame,"Pruitt said before last year's game. "The third Saturday in October, so whether you’re on the Tennessee side or the Alabama side, kind of all the old heads so to speak, this is the rivalry, this is the game.
"So, yeah I grew up watching it, I had the opportunity to play in it, I’ve had an opportunity to coach in it – now on both sides – so this week does kind of get you going right there.”
Last year, Alabama pulled out a 35-13 victory even though starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa left the game with an ankle injury.
The last Tennessee win in the series was on Oct, 21, 2006, a game decided by a late touchdown as Arian Foster dove into the end zone with 3:28 remaining. It completed No. 7 Tennessee's rally, for a 16-13 home victory.
The Crimson Tide had gone ahead 13-6 at the end of the third quarter on Tim Castille's 2-yard run, which was the first touchdown scored in the series in two years. The 2005 game had ended with 6-3 Alabama victory thanks to Jamie Christensen's 34-yard field goal with 13 second remaining, following safety Roman Harper forcing a fumble by Foster on his way to the end zone at the Alabama 3.
The teams are scheduled to play at Neyland Stadium on Oct. 24, which would be 5,118 days.
Oct. 20, 2007: Alabama 41–17
Oct. 25, 2008: Alabama 29–9
Oct. 24, 2009: Alabama 12–10
Oct. 23, 2010: Alabama 41–10
Oct. 22, 2011: Alabama 37–6
Oct. 20, 2012: Alabama 44–13
Oct. 26, 2013: Alabama 45–10
Oct. 25, 2014: Alabama 34–20
Oct. 24, 2015: Alabama 19–14
Oct. 15, 2016: Alabama 49–10
Oct. 21, 2017: Alabama 45–7
Oct. 20, 2018: Alabama 58–21
Oct. 19, 2019: Alabama 35–13
Total points: 489-160
Average score: 37.6-12.3