With Alabama football heading to Knoxville this weekend, the reality of facing the Crimson Tide is eroding the euphoria of the Vols upset victory over Auburn.
Alabama football vs. Tennessee is one of, if not the streakiest series in the history of college football. After the Vols upset Auburn on Saturday and continuing for a couple of days, Vols fans were chattering about breaking the current Tide streak this Saturday.
The chatter has subsided as the reality of perhaps Nick Saban’s best team being a heavy favorite to smash the Vols again. Vols fans have deep knowledge of being smashed by Alabama football. The current Crimson Tide win streak is 11 games going back to 2007.
The teams have tangled often going back to a 6-6 tie in 1901. Alabama football leads the series with 55 wins, to 37 wins for the Vols. The series also had eight ties.
The Crimson Tide does not own the upper hand in all the streaks. Tennessee won nine of thirteen games from 1948-1960, while the Tide managed only one win. The Vols won four straight in 1967-1970. The last of those four wins came with Bill Battle as the Tennessee head coach. Yes, that Bill Battle. Johnny Majors led the Vols to four straight in 1982-1985. From 1995-2006, Phil Fulmer’s Vols beat the Tide ten out of twelve tries.
The Alabama Crimson Tide streaks began under Paul Bryant. In 1961-1966 Bryant’s Tide won five of the six games with one tie. The Crimson Tide won 11 straight in 1971-1981. From 1986-1994, the Tide won eight of the nine games with one tie.
Tennessee has had 23 head coaches in its history going back to the aforementioned tie in 1901. Only four of those head coaches compiled winning records against the Crimson Tide. S.D. Crawford had a 1-0 record from a 1904 victory. Tennessee legend, General Robert Neyland was 12-5-2 against Alabama. Bowden Wyatt was 5-2-1 competing against Alabama football. Long a nemesis of the Tide, current AD, Phil Fulmer was 10-3-1 as a head coach against the Tide.
Seven Tennessee Volunteers head coaches never won a game against Alabama. The more familiar names in that winless group are Butch Jones, Derek Dooley and Lane Kiffin. A player under Paul Bryant and former University of Alabama AD, Bill Battle was 1-6 against the Tide as the Vols head coach. Battle may have been the first college head coach to have a moving van sent to his house before being fired.
The odds are high two new streak records will be set Saturday afternoon in Knoxville. The Crimson Tide can break its record,11-win streak over the Vols, with a twelfth straight win Saturday. Nick Saban can break another streak record. Nick sets a new record every time he goes up against a former assistant, turned head coach opponent. A win over Jeremy Pruitt will push that Saban record to 13-0.
Speaking on the Saban 12-0 streak against former assistants, the wins have been dominating. In the 12 games, the Saban teams have scored 498 points to only 157 points for the in-over-their-heads former assistants.