Alabama/Tennessee game notes

The Alabama Crimson Tide football team (5-2, 2-1 SEC) travels to Knoxville, Tenn., this Saturday to meet the Tennessee Volunteers (4-2, 1-2 SEC) in a nationally televised game by ESPN. Tennessee comes into the game ranked No. 16 in the recent AP poll, while the Tide is 19th.

The Crimson Tide and Volunteers are meeting for the 85th time in this long, storied Southern football rivalry that dates back to the turn of the 20th century.

Alabama enters the Tennessee game following a 42-7 Homecoming win over Ole Miss. The Volunteers, coming off their second open date of the 2002 season, have not played since dropping an 18-13 decision at Georgia on Oct. 5.

ESPN will televise its second Alabama game of the year this weekend in Knoxville. ESPN also aired the Arkansas game on Sept. 28. Ron Franklin (play-by-play), Mike Gottfried (analyst) and Dr. Jerry Punch (sidelines) will describe the action to a national cable audience. The game will also be aired on the 80-plus station Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold (play-by-play) and Kenny Stabler (color analyst) describing the action. Tom Roberts will once again work the sidelines for the network broadcasts. The game will also be aired on the Sports USA Network with Larry Kahn (play-by-play), Stan Brock (analyst) and Troy West (sidelines) handling the commentary.

The Head Coaches

Alabama head coach Dennis Franchione is in his second season with the Crimson Tide and is part of an elite college coaching group with 150 or more career wins. Currently, there are only seven active coaches with 150 or more career wins and Franchione joined that group following last week's 42-7 win over Ole Miss. In his first season, Coach Fran led Alabama to a 7-5 record, including a win over Iowa State in the Mainstay Independence Bowl. He is 12-7 (.632) in his tenure with the Crimson Tide. Overall, Franchione is in his 20th season as a head coach and has compiled a 150-72-2 (.674) lifetime ledger at Southwestern (Kansas) College, Pittsburg State, Southwest Texas State, New Mexico, TCU and Alabama.

Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee, 1972) seeks his 100th career victory as the Volunteers host the Crimson Tide this weekend. Overall, Fulmer is 99-22 (.818) in 11 seasons as head coach at his alma mater. Fulmer's .818 winning mark makes him the second-winningest active Division I head coach. Marshall's Bob Pruett (.860) ranks slightly ahead of Fulmer for highest winning percentage among active head coaches. In his 11-year tenure, Fulmer has led the Vols to two SEC Championships (1997 and 1998) and one national championship (1998).

Game Captains

Game captains for the Tennessee game are Tyler Watts (quarterback) and Sam Collins (split end) on offense and Kindal Moorehead (defensive end) and Gerald Dixon (cornerback) on defense.

Alabama/Tennessee Series

One of college football's most colorful series celebrates its 85th renewal this Saturday as the Alabama Crimson Tide travels to Knoxville to face the Tennessee Volunteers. Alabama and Tennessee have met every year since 1928, with the exception of the 1943 season when neither school fielded a football team due to World War II.

Alabama leads the all-time series with Tennessee 42-33-7 lead, but the Volunteers have won the last seven meetings. The Vols' seven-game winning streak is the longest in series history against the Crimson Tide. Alabama's last win in the series was a 17-13 victory in Knoxville on Oct. 15, 1994 when UT quarterback Peyton Manning was a freshman.

Tennessee had a six-game unbeaten streak against Alabama from 1955-60, posting a 5-0-1 ledger.

The very first meeting took place Nov. 28, 1901 in Birmingham, when the two schools played to a 6-6 deadlock. Alabama posted a 9-1-1 record in the first 11 meetings with Tennessee, including seven shutouts, before the series was halted from 1915-27.

The series resumed on Oct. 20, 1928, the first of 66 consecutive meetings on the third Saturday in October, with Tennessee claiming a 15-13 win in Tuscaloosa.

Over the next 20 years (1928-48), the two teams would split 20 meetings, with both teams winning nine times and playing to a pair of ties.

The Big Orange, however, dominated the next decade, as UT posted an 8-3-1 record from 1949-60. During that stretch, the Vols won four straight games (1955-58) and posted five shutouts in six years.

Alabama ended Tennessee's six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1) with a 34-3 win over the Vols in Birmingham during the 1961 season, Coach Paul Bryant's first national championship at Alabama.

Since the 1950s, the series has been nothing but streaks. After Tennessee's 8-3-1 record over a 12-year period, Alabama answered with a 5-0-1 mark from 1961-66.

Following Alabama's dramatic 11-10 win in Knoxville during the 1966 season, the Volunteers reeled off four straight wins from 1967-70.

Entering the 1971 game at Legion Field, the series was tied 23-23-7. Alabama then won 11 consecutive games (1971-81) over Tennessee to gain the upperhand in the series. The 11-game winning streak included a 27-0 win over the Vols in Knoxville marking the first shutout since a 35-0 over Tennessee in 1963.

The Vols snapped Bama's streak with a 35-28 win in Knoxville in 1982 and then won four consecutive games (1982-85) in the series.

Alabama ended that streak with a 56-28 win in Knoxville behind Bobby Humphrey's 217 rushing yards.

The 1986 victory was the first in the Tide's nine-game unbeaten streak from 1986-94. The two teams played to a 17-17 tie at Legion Field in 1993 (but was later forfeited to Tennessee due to NCAA sanctions).

Bama quarterback Jay Barker directed the team on a last-minute drive and David Palmer, who ran the ball in from three yards out, clinched the tie on a two-point conversion.

The nine-game unbeaten streak came to an abrupt halt in 1995 as Tennessee handed Alabama a sound 41-14 thrashing at Legion Field. UT set the tempo on the game's first play as Peyton Manning threw an 80-yard TD pass to Huntsville, Ala., native Joey Kent. The Vols extended their lead to 21-0 before claiming their largest margin of victory over Alabama in a quarter-century.

The 1995 victory was the first in UT's seven-game winning streak over Alabama. The Vols have also posted wins in 1996 (20-13), 1997 (38-21), 1998 (31-18), 1999 (21-7), 2000 (20-10) and 2001 (35-24).

The 1999 Alabama-Tennessee game was the first to be played in Tuscaloosa since the 1930 season. The 5th ranked Vols beat 10th ranked Alabama 21-7 in a game that saw Alabama lose its starting quarterback (Andrew Zow) and running back (Shaun Alexander) to injuries.

Alabama/Tennessee Notebook

  • Alabama head coach Dennis Franchione is 0-1 in his head coaching career against the Volunteers, losing his only meeting last year in Tuscaloosa (35-24).
  • Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer has a 7-1-1 on-the-field record with Alabama, but is actually 8-1 (.889) overall as the result of a forfeit by Alabama in 1993.
  • Alabama (748) and Tennessee (742) have combined to win 1,470 football games in their storied histories. Alabama ranks fifth all-time among Division I schools, while Tennessee is eighth.
  • In terms of all-time SEC wins, Alabama and Tennessee have combined to win 596 SEC football games. UA heads the list with 319 league wins, while UT is second with 277 SEC victories.
  • The Crimson Tide and Volunteers have also combined to win 34 SEC Championships. Alabama heads the list with 21 crowns, including 15 outright titles. Tennessee is second with 13 league titles, including nine outright.
  • Alabama, Tennessee and Florida combined to win every SEC Championship in the 1990s.
  • Alabama has four players on its roster from the state of Tennessee. The list includes Dennis Alexander (OL, Memphis), Santonio Beard (TB, Nashville), Ahmaad Galloway (TB, Millington) and Kindal Moorehead (DL, Memphis).
  • Alabama defensive coordinator Carl Torbush is a native of Knoxville, Tenn., and 1974 graduate of Carson-Newman. A three-year lettermen at Carson-Newman, Torbush earned NAIA first-team All-America honors in both football and baseball. He was later inducted into the Carson-Newman College Sports Hall of Fame.
  • Torbush's first coaching job out of college was at Carter High School in Knoxville.
  • The Tennessee roster lists four Alabama natives, including Jason Allen (Muscle Shoals), Corey Larkins (Opelika), Rashad Moore (Huntsville) and Keldrick Williams (Montgomery).
  • Tennessee assistant head coach and defensive coordinator John Chavis is a former assistant coach at Alabama A&M (1980-83, 1986-88) and Alabama State (1984-85).
  • Tennessee running backs coach Woody McCorvey is a former assistant coach at Alabama under Gene Stallings (1990-96) and Mike DuBose (1997). While at Alabama, McCorvey served as receivers coach, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Among his pupils was Alabama All-American David Palmer (1991-93), who set several school records, including most receiving yards in a game and season.
  • McCorvey is a native of Grove Hill, Ala., and played quarterback at Escambia County Training School and Alabama State (1968-72). He also coached at Alabama A&M from 1979-82.
  • Tennessee quarterbacks coach Pat Washington played collegiately at Auburn under former head coach Pat Dye from 1982-85.
  • Washington is a native of Mobile, Ala., and prepped at Murphy High School before signing with Auburn.
  • Tennessee sophomore offensive tackle Michael Munoz (Mason, Ohio) is the son of NFL Hall of Famer, Anthony Munoz. The elder Munoz played at Southern California and went head-to-head with Alabama twice, losing in 1977 (21-20) in Los Angeles and winning in 1978 (24-14) at Legion Field.

Bama, Vols Ranked Again

The 2002 Alabama-Tennessee game marks only the 13th time in the 85-game series that both teams are ranked in the AP Top 25. Tennessee enters the game ranked 16th in the latest poll, while Alabama is 19th this week.
  • Alabama and Tennessee have split those 12 meetings featuring two ranked teams, with both teams earning six wins.
  • The last time both teams were ranked was Oct. 23, 1999 when No. 5 Tennessee beat No. 10 Alabama, 21-7. It was the first Alabama-Tennessee game contested in Tuscaloosa since the 1930 season.
  • At least one team has been ranked every year since 1959 with the exception of 1968, 1984 and 2000.
  • In addition, the 2000 Alabama-Tennessee game marked the first time since 1955 that neither team entered the game with a winning record. The Crimson Tide posted a 3-3 record entering the game, while the Vols were 2-3.
  • Since 1939, the highest ranked team has compiled a 40-7-2 (.836) record in the Alabama-Tennessee
  • The last time the lower ranked team win in this series took place on Oct. 19, 1991 when No. 14 Alabama beat No. 8 Tennessee, 24-19, at Birmingham's Legion Field.

Alabama/Tennessee in Knoxville

The Crimson Tide and Volunteers first met on the UT campus on Nov. 13, 1909 and Saturday's game with mark the 39th meeting between these two Southern football rivals in Knoxville. Alabama holds a slim 19-18-1 lead in the previous 38 meetings on the UT campus.
  • Alabama and Tennessee have met every other year in Knoxville since 1929. The two teams played in Knoxville during odd-numbered years from 1929-41. After neither school fielded a football team in 1943 due to World War II, the series resumed in 1944 and the two school have played every even-numbered year on the UT campus since 1944.
  • Alabama defeated Tennessee 27-7 on Oct. 20, 1962 in the dedication game at Neyland Stadium. The stadium originally opened as Shields Watkins Field on Sept. 24, 1921.
  • Tennessee enters this game with a three-game home winning streak over Alabama, the longest since the Vols won three straight from 1956-60.
  • A win over Alabama this season and Tennessee will equal its longest home winning streak in the series. The Vols beat the Crimson Tide four consecutive times from 1946-52. UT also won three straight home game with Alabama from 1914-31.

Alabama/Tennessee on the Tube

ESPN will televise its first Alabama-Tennessee game since the 1997 season when the two teams meet this weekend at Neyland Stadium. In that game, the Vols posted a 38-21 victory at Legion Field, its third straight win over the Crimson Tide. The last time ESPN televised an Alabama-Tennessee game in Neyland Stadium was Oct. 15, 1994, which just happened to be the last time Alabama beat Tennessee.

The 2002 game marks the 24th televised game in this rivalry. The first Alabama-Tennessee game to be televised was Oct. 20, 1951 at Legion Field. The game was also the first televised football game in Alabama's history. NBC Sports aired the game from Birmingham and used a pair of veteran and future Hall of Fame broadcasters. Alabama alum Mel Allen and Tennessee alum Lindsey Nelson handled the announcing chores that day as the Vols posted a 27-13 win.

Third Saturday in October

For 66 years the annual Alabama-Tennessee game was simply referred to as "The Third Saturday in October." Alabama and Tennessee first played on the traditional third Saturday date Oct. 28, 1928. The tradition continued through the 1994 season. In 1995, the Southeastern Conference Office realigned its conference football schedule, putting an end to the 66-year third Saturday tradition that had become Alabama-Tennessee football.

The Oct. 14, 1995 game was played on the second Saturday in October and the teams have played only three times (1997, 2000 and 2001) on the third Saturday in October over the last eight years, including each of the last two seasons.

The series became so popular that the late Al Browning, former sports editor of The Tuscaloosa News and Knoxville News- Sentinel, wrote a book entitled Third Saturday in October, recapping each game in this tradition-rich football series.

Non-Third Saturday Clashes

The 2002 Alabama-Tennessee game marks the 15th time in the 85-game history of the series that the game has not been played on the traditional third Saturday in October.
  • The Crimson Tide has compiled a 7-6-1 (.500) record in those non third Saturday games.
  • The Vols have won five straight non third Saturday meetings with the Crimson Tide.

Streaky Series

For more than a half century, the Alabama-Tennessee series has been one of the most streaky series in all of college football. The shortest winning streak in the series by either team since the 1995 season is four games, posted by Tennessee from 1955-58, 1967-71 and 1982-85.
  • Since 1955, the series has been filled with streaks, both good and bad. Here is a quick Alabama-Tennessee history lesson on the various streaks.
  • From 1955-60, Tennessee posted a 5-0-1 record against Alabama, the second-most successful stretch for the Vols in the 85-game series.
  • From 1961-66, Alabama followed with a 5-0-1 streak of its own, winning four straight games from 1961-64. The 34-3 win in 1961 was the first by Alabama over Tennessee since 1954.
  • Tennessee regained momentum in the late 1960s, winning four straight games from 1967-70.
  • After the 1970 season, Alabama totally dominated the series, winning 11 consecutive games from 1971-81, the longest winning streak by either team in this colorful series.
  • Tennessee ended 11 years of frustration in 1982 and started another four-game winning streak over the Crimson Tide with a 35-28 win at Neyland Stadium.
  • The series momentum shifted back to the Alabama camp beginning in 1986 as the Crimson Tide posted an 8-0-1 on-the-field record over the next nine seasons.
  • The Vols have been relentless since the 1995 season, winning seven consecutive games against its arch rival en route to becoming the first team to ever beat the Crimson Tide seven straight times.

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