Welcome to the The Third Saturday In October Rivalry

J. Bank

A lot of people consider the Alabama-Tennessee game a bigger rivalry than the Iron Bowl.  

The two men featured on the 1981 cover of this game program, trainer Jim Goosetree and assistant coach Ken Donahue, both graduated from Tennessee.  But, no one wanted to win the game against the Volunteers more than they did. And the Crimson Tide did win this game, 38-19.

Overall, Alabama and Tennessee will meet for the 102nd time on Saturday. 

The Crimson Tide leads the all-time series, 56-37-8 (55-38-7 NCAA), and won last year’s meeting, 58-21, in Knoxville.

The series is known to have streaks, with one team dominating for a while, but not like this. Alabama has won the last 12 meetings between the two schools, including a 45-7 victory in the Tide’s last matchup in Tuscaloosa in 2017. 

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 14-1 in his career against Tennessee, including an 12-0 mark at Alabama. 

Former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is in his second season as the Volunteers’ head coach. Coming off last week's win against  Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M, Saban is 18-0 all-time against his former assistant coaches. 

Tennessee assistant coaches Kevin Sherrer, Will Friend, Derrick Ansley, Chris Rumph, Brian Niedermeyer and Chris Weinke also have played for Alabama and/or served on the Crimson Tide staff in some capacity. 

Of course, one of the strongest ties between the schools is Bill Battle. Not only did he play at Alabama and eventually become an assistant coach for Tennessee, but became the youngest head coach in the nation when he took over the Volunteers in 1970. 

Despite having a 59–22–2 record in seven seasons in Knoxville, he couldn't knock his alma matter from atop the Southeastern Conference and contend for a national title. 

The founder and chairman of The Collegiate Licensing Company, Battle was named Alabama's Director of Athletics in 2013 after Mal Moore stepped down due to health reasons, He held the role until 2017. 

The Tide lost this game 24-13 which ended a 25-game unbeaten streak for Bama.