Look out for No. 1

Saturday's game with Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa will mark the 10th time Tennessee has faced a top-ranked football team.

The Vols won two of their previous nine outings - stunning Billy Cannon and Auburn 14-13 in 1959, then shocking Bo Jackson and Auburn 38-20 in 1985. Both games were played on Shields-Watkins Field in Knoxville. Tennessee also has lost four times to No. 1 teams at Neyland Stadium.

The Vols have never beaten a top-ranked team on the road - bowing twice to Florida in Gainesville and once to Alabama in Birmingham.

The odds are against the Vols Saturday in Tuscaloosa, as the early betting line - Bama's a 17-point favorite - clearly reflects.

Of course, no one was expecting Tennessee to upset LSU in '59 or Auburn in '85, either. That's what makes knocking off America's No. 1 team so special. In fact, just getting the opportunity to knock off America's No. 1 team is pretty exciting.

"That's great," senior linebacker Rico McCoy said this week. "Man, I'd love to party with you guys (media) if we won this game down there. Not only is it our rival but beating the No. 1 team in the country would be a dream come true."

Junior defensive end Chris Walker isn't quite so pumped but he's just as determined to make the most of this weekend's opportunity.

"You pretty much look at it as just another game," he said. "But, obviously, people really want to see what the No. 1 team in the country is going to do. When we come out there Saturday, we're going to have to not disappoint very many people."

Here's a recap of Tennessee's previous matchups against teams ranked No. 1:

Nov. 7, 1959: No. 13 Tennessee 14, LSU 13 (Knoxville)

Oct. 20, 1979: Alabama 27, Tennessee 17 (Birmingham)

Oct. 18, 1980: Alabama 27, Tennessee 0 (Knoxville)

Sept. 28, 1985: Tennessee 38, Auburn 20 (Knoxville)

Nov. 10, 1990: Notre Dame 34, No. 9 Tennessee 29 (Knoxville)

Sept. 17, 1994: Florida 31, No. 14 Tennessee 0 (Knoxville)

Sept. 20, 1997: Florida 33, No. 4 Tennessee 20 (Gainesville)

Nov. 9, 2002: Miami 26, Tennessee 3 (Knoxville)

Sept. 19, 2009: Florida 23, Tennessee 13 (Gainesville)


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