No. 1 Alabama has its 10th win in a row against No. 9 Tennessee, in the form of a 49-10 whomping at Neyland Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Tide were brilliant in victory, and they got to have fun while they were doing it.
Freshman Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts ran for three touchdowns. After his third, he flashed the sort of chilling, knowing stare that formally announced an already lopsided game was, by this point, over. This was in the third quarter.
Let's have a closer look, shall we?
Tennessee couldn't do anything about him.
Even before Hurts' TD, there hadn't been much drama here. Alabama took a 21-7 lead into halftime, out-gaining Tennessee 309-41 in the first 30 minutes. Tennessee wasn't technically out of the game, but the Tide established supremacy quickly. By the time a Ronnie Harrison pick-six gave the Tide their first 14-point lead of the day, the onslaught was in full swing, and Hurts has just been piling on.
When Bo Scarbrough scored Alabama's last touchdown of the game, he put his hand in a Tennessee fan's face, only furthering the Vols' indignity.
All told, Alabama out-gained Tennessee 594-163. The Tide scored 14 points on defense and special teams, more than Tennessee scored in total. (The Tide have become an offensive force even when they don't have the ball.)
Alabama said its 438 rushing yards were the most since a game against the Vols in 1986.
If Tennessee and Alabama both win out, there's a good chance Saturday will have only been a prelude to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Dec. 3. The Tide control their own destiny in the West, and Tennessee, despite two losses in a row to the West's top two teams, retains a decent chance to win the East. The Vols might well get another crack at the Tide if they don't misstep in the next month and a half, and they should take some solace in that.
But given what we saw on Saturday, it's not so clear how Tennessee's going to compete in such a game, if it happens. The Tide look every bit like the best team in the country, and they dominated the Vols up and down the field, in Tennessee's own stadium. Things can always change, but Alabama hasn't left much doubt that it's the better team.