Tennessee will be in the spotlight next week for its home game against top-ranked Alabama, which will be played before a national TV audience as the SEC on CBS Game of the Week.
The Vols will get plenty of attention leading up to the game, too.
SEC Network announced Friday that its traveling pregame show, “SEC Nation,” will head to Knoxville next week to preview the Vols’ showdown with the top-ranked Crimson Tide on Oct. 20 at Neyland Stadium.
It will be the second consecutive week and the third time this year for “SEC Nation” to broadcast from the site of Tennessee’s game. The SEC Network show also is in Auburn, Ala., for the Vols’ game Saturday at No. 21 Auburn, and it was on location in Charlotte, N.C., leading up to Tennessee’s season-opening loss to West Virginia on Sept. 1.
“SEC Nation” again will broadcast from “The Hill” on Tennessee’s campus, just in front of Ayres Hall, before the Vols (2-3, 0-2 SEC) take on defending national champion Alabama (6-0, 3-0) at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time on Oct. 20.
The pregame show will air from 10 a.m. to noon Eastern time. “The Paul Finebaum Show” will be televised from the same location on Friday, Oct. 19 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern.
Fans are invited to attend both shows.
“SEC Nation” features host Laura Rutledge, analysts Finebaum, Marcus Spears and Tim Tebow, and reporter Lauren Sisler. Tebow was a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Florida, while Spears was a standout defensive lineman at LSU.
Next week will be the sixth time SEC Network’s pregame show has aired from Knoxville and Tennessee’s 15th overall appearance on the show.
Alabama recently has dominated its “Third Saturday in October” rivalry with Tennessee, winning the past 11 meetings. The Crimson Tide have won six of the past eight meetings by at least 31 points.
But this year’s game between the Vols and Crimson Tide will feature an intriguing coaching matchup that might draw a bit more national attention.
First-year Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt will be squaring off with his former boss, Alabama coach Nick Saban, for the first time as a head coach. Pruitt served as the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator for the past two seasons and spent eight of the past 11 years on Saban’s staff.
Pruitt, a native of Rainsville, Ala., also was a defensive back at Alabama in 1995-96 after transferring from Middle Tennessee.
Former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones, who’s now an analyst on Alabama’s staff, also will be returning to Neyland Stadium for the first time since he was fired in November near the end of his fifth season with the Vols.
Tennessee enters Saturday’s game at Auburn looking to snap an 11-game SEC losing streak. The Vols have lost each of their first three games against Power Five opponents by 26 points.