Looking At Stats, Alabama Vs. Vols

Those who appreciate the study of statistics recognize that the numbers don't always give a complete picture. That's true in football, particularly early in the season where there has been an imbalance in the quality of teams played. More than halfway into the season, however, there is usually validity.

As would be expected, Alabama shows a statistical superiority to Tennessee this year. The Crimson Tide is 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference games, while the Vols are 4-3 after seven games, including 1-2 in the league.

Bama hosts Tennessee in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday with kickoff at 2:30 p.m. CDT and television coverage by CBS.

The most impressive statistic in the SEC midway through the season may be Alabama leading the league (and the nation) by allowing only 9.7 points per game. And that includes giving up 42 points to Texas A&M in the second game of the season. Against the other six Bama opponents, the Tide has allowed a total of only two touchdowns and 26 points.

Bama is also doing well offensively, third in the SEC averaging 40.7 points per game. The Vols are 10th in scoring, 30.4 points per game, and ninth in scoring defense, allowing 27.0.

Alabama is fifth in the conference in rushing at 211.7 yards per game, barely ahead of the Vols, eighth in the SEC at 201.7. The Tide averages 6.0 yards per rushing play, Tennessee 5.1. On defense, Alabama is in its accustomed spot, first in the league, allowing only 98.3 yards per game. Tennessee is 12th in rushing defense, giving up 181.7.

The Tide is averaging 248.7 yards per game passing, seventh in the SEC, and completing 68.9 per cent of passes. UT is 13th in the league in passing, 166.3 yards per game and only 53.9 per cent completion rate. On defense, Bama is second, allowing 50 per cent completions and 176.7 yards per game, while the Vls are 10th at 230.1 yards per game despite allowing just 52 per cent completions.

In passing efficiency, Alabama is third and Tennessee 13th. In pass defense efficiency, the Tide is second, the Vols third.

Alabama is averaging 460.4 yards per game of total offense, which is sixth in the conference. The Volunteers are 11th in total offense, 368.0 yards per game. Alabama is NOT leading the SEC in total defense. Florida is number one, allowing 273.1 yards per game. Bama has given up 13 more yards in seven games and is second in the league, allowing 275.0. Tennessee is 11th in total defense, giving up 411.9 yards per game.

Coaches put a lot of stock in turnover margin, third down performance, and Red Zone efficiency.

Alabama and Tennessee are even in turnover margin, both at plus four. Bama has 10 takeaways (4 fumble recoveries, 6 interceptions) and 6 turnovers (3 each fumbles lost and interceptions). The Vols have 17 takeaways (5 fumble recoveries, 12 interceptions) and 13 turnovers (5 fumbles, 8 interceptions).

On third down, Bama converts at 48.8 per cent, fourth in the SEC, and Tennessee at 39.4 per cent, 11th in the conference. On defense, the Tide is second, permitting only 30.1 per cent, and Tennessee is 10th, allowing 40.6 per cent.

In the Red Zone, Alabama is sixth in scoring on 23-27 opportunities (19 touchdowns, 4-5 field goals) and Tennessee is eighth at 27-32 (21 TDs, 6-6 FGs) for 84.4 per cent. On defense in the Red Zone, Bama is first, allowing 7-11 (63.6 per cent) with five TDs and 2-2 field goals. Tennessee is third at 73.3 per cent on 22-30 (17 touchdowns, 5-9 field goals).

Tennessee leads the SEC in avoiding penalties, only 31 for 232 yards (33.1 yards per game), while Alabama – even with no penalties in last week's win over Arkansas – is sixth with 36 penalties for 289 yards per game, 41.3 yards per game.

Time of possessions sometimes means a lot, sometimes means nothing. Alabama is third in the league, averaging possession 33:06 per game, while Tennessee is 10th at 29:16.

Alabama has the advantage on Tennessee in most kicking game statistics – kickoff returns, punt returns (and the Tide's Christion Jones leads the SEC at 12.5 yards per return), punting, and kickoff coverage. Both teams have made 8-10 field goals.

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