The Alabama Crimson Tide knew that the Tennessee Volunteers would bring their best effort in Saturday’s matchup between the Southeastern Conference rivals. After all, the Vols have been playing better under first-year head coach Butch Jones. Just last week, Tennessee upset the South Carolina Gamecocks in Knoxville.
Alabama also knew that this game would be used as a comparison, by some, of the Tide against the Oregon Ducks, who beat Tennessee 59-14 in September. Many said this would show which of the two teams should be ranked higher, since they were facing a common opponent.
The Crimson Tide put this game away early, dominating the Vols in every phase of the game en route to a 35-0 halftime lead. Alabama cruised home in the second half, winning 45-10.
While this margin is not as big as the margin that Oregon beat Tennessee by, the performance by the Tide on Saturday was more dominant. In the Oregon-Tennessee game, the Vols actually had a 7-0 lead before giving up 59 straight. In Saturday’s game, there was no doubt.
The other difference between the two games is that Tennessee is much better now than they were three weeks into the season. At that point, the Vols were struggling to handle teams like South Alabama. At this point in the season, the Vols have proven they can play with ranked opponents like South Carolina and the Georgia Bulldogs.
Once again, it was A.J. McCarron and T.J. Yeldon leading the offensive attack for the Tide. McCarron had 275 passing yards and two touchdowns, while Yeldon had 72 yards on the ground and three scores.
This is the closest thing we’ll have to a comparison between Alabama and Oregon unless they meet in the BCS Championship Game. Then, this argument might be settled.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.