Evan Woodbery: Alabama has the edge in all but two matchups

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) and offensive linesman D.J. Fluker (76) congratulate teammate Eddie Lacy on his 73-yard touchdown run during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) and offensive linesman D.J. Fluker (76) congratulate teammate Eddie Lacy on his 73-yard touchdown run during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Peyton Manning on the 1995 Alabama game

Quarterbacks

Tyler Bray had the least prolific passing day of his career as a starter last Saturday, throwing for only 148 yards against Mississippi State. He might be in for more of the same against Alabama's defense. AJ McCarron hasn't thrown an interception in his last 227 attempts, so even one pick would be a huge victory for Tennessee's defense. Edge: Alabama.

Running backs

Tennessee didn't seem to miss a beat last week when Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane went down with injuries. Neal is unlikely to play today, but Lane should be back. Alabama just keeps replacing five-star backs with other five-star backs. Even injuries don't seem to slow them down. Edge: Alabama.

Wide receivers/tight ends

We'll find out today whether Tennessee's talented receiver duo of Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson can make a dent in Alabama's vaunted defense. UT coaches will look for ways to get both players involved, even in nontraditional ways. Edge: Tennessee.

Offensive line

Tennessee's line has played extremely well in each of the last two games, pushing the Vols' running game to new heights and keeping Bray safe. Alabama's offensive line is perhaps the best in the country and is stocked with future NFL players. Edge: Alabama.

Defensive line

Alabama's rushing defense is best in the country, and much of the credit goes to the defensive front. Senior nose guard Jesse Williams, a mammoth Australian, anchors the line. Edge: Alabama.

Linebackers

Tennessee's Curt Maggitt is now fighting a shoulder stinger in addition to turf toe, meaning his injury prognosis is likely to remain a concern throughout the season. Alabama always seems to have an elite group of linebackers under Nick Saban. C.J. Mosley leads this year's unit. Edge: Alabama.

Secondary

Tennessee's secondary didn't surrender any big plays last week, which was only a small victory for a game in which the Vols allowed 41 points. Alabama has 11 interceptions while opponents have only thrown for two touchdowns. Edge: Alabama.

Special teams

Michael Palardy is now handling kickoffs, field goals and punts, a situation that hardly seems ideal, but is the best option for the Vols right now. Patterson's 98-yard kickoff return last week — combined with Alabama's momentary breakdown in the kicking game against Missouri — gives Tennessee a glimmer of hope. Edge: Even.

Coaching

Tennessee's staff has an Alabama flavor with the addition of defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri and cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley. But success comes much easier at places like Alabama, where there are future NFL players at every position. Edge: Alabama.

Intangibles

Tennessee will have a home-field advantage of course, but there's some concern about just how much crimson will be sprinkled in among the orange. Alabama has SEC and national title aspirations on the line, while Tennessee is hoping for its first league win. Edge: Alabama.

Pick

Alabama 37, Tennessee 20.

It's hard to envision an upset, but some team will eventually puncture Alabama's air of invincibility. Could it be Tennessee? With no mistakes and a little bit of luck, anything's possible. Scoring 20 against this defense would be a victory in itself.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 30

amstelman writes:

Will a "moral victory" of scoring 20 points on AL be a satisfying moment for VOL fans, for this team? Only if AL scores 19. Dooley and this team have proven morales. Only victories count now. GO VOLS!

ooltewahorange writes:

Expect the worst, hope for the best. I believe in my Big Orange!

Esau writes:

Bet the over you will win. However sadly we will not contribute 20 to that total.

GloryDays writes:

Yo have to give the edge to Dooley over Nick Satin. Dooley is a budding genuis, just on the verge of stepping on to the stage of greatness!

jobrando#216494 writes:

If the crowd at Neyland is as empty as this website there is a big problem.

BrucePearlandDerekDooley writes:

Are you high Glory Days?! Dooley is nowhere near Saban. If that remark was sarcastic then haha, but you can't be serious.

RubyBegonia writes:

The biggest edge they have is coaching!

Classof72 writes:

We Vols have two chances: slim and none.

However, a slim chance is better than no chance, so:
GO VOLS!

underthehill writes:

in response to Classof72:

We Vols have two chances: slim and none.

However, a slim chance is better than no chance, so:
GO VOLS!

I think UT will have a very interesting basketball season..

VolzsFan writes:

Vols to shock the world!!! Bama is untested.

oldster writes:

I know the "even" was for all the special teams, including the return game, but as that can be nullified by simply kicking the ball away, and kicking (and punting) cannot be avoided (Well, Alabama may never have to punt and UT may only have to kick once); therefore, to call this even one would have to assume that Alabama's kicker and punter have suddenly become two of the worst at their jobs in the history of the game, as Palardy and Darr certainly already are.

oldster writes:

in response to amstelman:

Will a "moral victory" of scoring 20 points on AL be a satisfying moment for VOL fans, for this team? Only if AL scores 19. Dooley and this team have proven morales. Only victories count now. GO VOLS!

A replay of the UT(Texas) vs. Oklahoma is what UT(Vols) vs. Alabama will be, if Saban feels sympathy for his old asst.coaches. That would be 21-63 in case you have forgotten.

oldster writes:

in response to Classof72:

We Vols have two chances: slim and none.

However, a slim chance is better than no chance, so:
GO VOLS!

The "slim" chance would be, then, for the entire Alabama first two teams to come down with food poisoning and/or the stomach flu before tonight's game starts, of course.

SmokyMtnMan writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

Vols to shock the world!!! Bama is untested.

Yeah yeah...like the only test UT passed? Which is Akron? This game will get ugly and Bama will still be untested come Saturday night.

orangeday writes:

I don't think anyone on this board thinksTn.can win not will win but can win.I am ashamed of almost every one of the people that come to this site .The fans that are at the game will cheer our team to victory. And We will succeed ! Go big orange! VFL.

Esau writes:

in response to orangeday:

I don't think anyone on this board thinksTn.can win not will win but can win.I am ashamed of almost every one of the people that come to this site .The fans that are at the game will cheer our team to victory. And We will succeed ! Go big orange! VFL.

Hoss I don't think the cheerleaders are the problem.

thevoice writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

If the crowd at Neyland is as empty as this website there is a big problem.

Investment return is dwindling.

thevoice writes:

UT 10
Bam 33

orangeday writes:

in response to Esau:

Hoss I don't think the cheerleaders are the problem.

I NOT TAKING ABOUT LEADING CHEERS.I'm talkin about fans with faith in a team that is improving every day.One that will prove everyone wrong tomorrow. Wait and see what happens! Will be back after the game to get thank you from non fans.

HeyWhitey writes:

in response to GloryDays:

Yo have to give the edge to Dooley over Nick Satin. Dooley is a budding genuis, just on the verge of stepping on to the stage of greatness!

Another babbling idiot

Orangepuddinskin writes:

You are out of your mind giving BAMA the edge at offensive line. They average around 50 rushing yards more per game, but UT has only allowed 3 sacks ( # 1 in the SEC) for 16 yards, while BAMA has allowed 13 for 116 yards ( ranked 80 th in the country to UT's 5 th best). McCarron has been sacked a full football field more than Bray. Does anyone do there homework before writing these articles?

VOL4LIFE74 writes:

It really is pretty sad that the fans are being so pesimistic about this game. I have been a Tennessee fan my whole life and I am not ever planning to switch to another team. I will stick it out through thick and thin. Whenever I met another VOL fan, ANYWHERE, we immediately bond!!! I agree that our chances don't look good on winning this game. But, honestly, anyone who calls themselves a VOLS fan and comes on here to bag on fans trying to be optimistic are obviously NOT true fans!!!!

VFL!!!!

VOL4LIFE74 writes:

in response to HeyWhitey:

Another babbling idiot

"HeyWhitey" You are exactly the cancer that the VOL-nation doeesn't need. Quit being so pesimistic and keep your negative and hateful comments to yourself!!!!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

If the crowd at Neyland is as empty as this website there is a big problem.

With all the disappointments this season coming into this game I can see where the home crowd won't be anything like the one at the gators game..If our defense plays bad again the home crowd will be drinking heavily

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to VOL4LIFE74:

It really is pretty sad that the fans are being so pesimistic about this game. I have been a Tennessee fan my whole life and I am not ever planning to switch to another team. I will stick it out through thick and thin. Whenever I met another VOL fan, ANYWHERE, we immediately bond!!! I agree that our chances don't look good on winning this game. But, honestly, anyone who calls themselves a VOLS fan and comes on here to bag on fans trying to be optimistic are obviously NOT true fans!!!!

VFL!!!!

Been a VOL fan 40 years but even when we are playing like phooey and blowing the game; no matter how POed Iam I still watch to the bitter end.Watching those Orange jerseys run through the T is something I live for

Razor784 writes:

Bama's not as good as everybody thinks and somebody will burst their bubble. I just don't know if it'll happen today.

Bama 45
UT 27

orangiac writes:

The only question about today's game is will the Vols wear their halloween uniforms.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

This article is an exercise in futility, no disrespect to the author intended.

6972 writes:

For anyone interested in getting rid of DD, the AD could probably hire Gene Chizek cheap. Vandy 17 Auburn 13. My how the mighty have fallen.

Esau writes:

in response to Esau:

Bet the over you will win. However sadly we will not contribute 20 to that total.

Boom!

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