Archives for category: Tennessee

As the calendar closes in on Halloween and the final month of the season in November, the SEC’s named rivalries began to kickoff. The Third Saturday in October, The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry and The Iron Bowl are all part of SEC lore. For these rivalries, we’ll take a look back at the games five, 10, 20 and 30 years ago.

Today — the third Saturday in October — marks the annual Alabama-Tennessee battle. Since the 1992 divisional split, this rivalry has only been played on the actual third Saturday in October six times.

2007: Alabama 41, #20 Tennessee 17 (Tuscaloosa)

In Nick Saban’s first game against Tennessee as Alabama’s head coach, he opened with a recovered onside kick that led to 3-0 lead for the Crimson Tide. They wouldn’t look back and never trailed #20 Tennessee, eventually hammering the Vols in the 2nd half for a 41-17 win. In Philip Fulmer’s final season at Tennessee in 2008, a number of Vols fans sold their home tickets to Tide fans signifying their displeasure with the Vols’ direction. Tennessee hasn’t beaten Saban and Alabama since.

2007 Statistics:

Leading Passer (yards) — Ala. QB John Parker Wilson (32/46 for 363 yds., 3 TDs, 0 INTs)

Leading Rusher — Ala. RB Terry Grant (26 carries for 104 yds., 1 TD)

Leading Receiver — Ala. WR D.J. Hall (13 catches for 185 yds., 2 TDs)

 

2002: #19 Alabama 34, #16 Tennessee 14 (Knoxville)

The 2002 version of the Alabama Crimson Tide lost only two games, and on its way to double-digit victories, it snapped Tennessee’s seven-game winning streak in the rivalry. The 1995-2001 stretch is the Volunteers longest streak in the series. Alabama holds an 11-game mark and is currently on a five-game streak.

The series’ famous “Victory Cigars” were surely lit up in Tuscaloosa after this one.

The video is blurry, but Ron Franklin is on the call (Courtesy of RedElephantStampede). He was SEC Saturday Night, and you wish he still was.

 

 

Alabama QB Jay Barker escapes the Tennessee rush.

1992: #4 Alabama 17, #13 Tennessee 10 (Knoxville)

Alabama would go on to win the 1992 National Championship after defeating Tennessee 17-10. The Tide jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the 2nd quarter, but gave the Vols an opportunity to tie the game in the 4th quarter with a fumble at the Tennessee 48-yard-line with 1:30 left. However, Tennessee QB Heath Shuler threw an interception to end the threat.

 

1982: Tennessee 35, #2 Alabama 28 (Knoxville)

Like the 2002 version of this rivalry, the 1982 game ended a team’s longest streak. Alabama had won 11 straight against the Vols, but Tennessee knocked them off to start a four-game streak of its own from 1982-1985. Vols WR and world-class sprinter Willie Gault, who would later star for the Chicago Bears, struck early in this one.

Long-time Tennessee radio voice John Ward on call (Courtesy of YankeeFanInTenn):

 

The last time Mississippi State defeated Tennessee, the year was 1994 and a freshman quarterback named Peyton Manning took over starting duties after Tennessee quarterbacks Todd Helton (of Colorado Rockies fame) and Jerry Colquitt were hurt. Mississippi State beat the freshman quarterback that day on a 4th down touchdown, but Manning never looked back.

State’s game winning drive:

 

Alabama 52, Arkansas 0

SB Nation: Near-Perfect: Alabama’s Weaknesses Are Few and Far Between

Sports Illustrated: Arkansas Loses More Than a Game in Humiliating Defeat to Alabama

Florida 37, Tennessee 20

Yahoo! Sports: Strong Finishes Lead to Fast Start for Florida

Sports Illustrated: Tenn. Loses Leading Tackler Randolph to Torn ACL


Texas 66, Ole Miss 31

Jackson Clarion-Ledger: Defensive Changes Afoot After Ole Miss’ Blowout Loss to Texas

Tennessee’s long-awaited breakthrough against Florida came in 1998 as the Vols won 20-17 in overtime. Florida kicker Collins Cooper missed a game-tying field goal in overtime. Legendary Tennessee radio announcer John Ward, in his final season with the Vols, delivered one of his classic calls as the kick sailed wide left and Tennessee fans rushed the field.

“So the score, Tennessee 20, Florida 17 and the Gators with a field goal made will tie the game. Snap, the kick this time is…No Sir-ree! No Sir-ree! Final score, Tennessee 20, Florida 17! Pandemonium reigns!”

Unfortunately, the following video cuts off before Ward’s classic line of “pandemonium reigns,” but it captures the relief and joy felt by Vols players, coaches and fans after losing 5 consecutive games to Florida.

 

Tennessee tries to break Florida’s current streak of 7 consecutive wins over the Vols on Saturday night in Knoxville. Florida leads the overall series 22-19, a series once led by Tennessee 10-0.

Expansion came to the SEC in 1992 in the form of two new teams — Arkansas and South Carolina — and a new SEC Championship Game, first played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., and then moved to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in 1994. While the first SEC Championship Game almost ruined #2 Alabama’s and the SEC’s chances at their first national championships since 1979 and 1980, respectively, the Crimson Tide eventually overcame Florida 28-21 and blasted #1 Miami (Fla.) 34-13 in the 1993 Sugar Bowl to claim it all.

Florida’s HC Steve Spurrier and QB Danny Wuerffel claim the program’s first national championship in the 1997 Sugar Bowl.

While Florida met Alabama in four of the first five SEC championship games (’92, ’93, ’94, ’96), it was the Gators’ new rivalry with the SEC East’s perennial 2nd-place team Tennessee that sparked so much interest nationally for the conference each September throughout the 1990s. Florida strung together four consecutive SEC championships from 1993-1996 that hadn’t been accomplished since Bear Bryant’s Alabama teams as Steve Spurrier brought a different winning style to the SEC through the air. Spurrier capped it off with the 1996 national championship, the first in Florida’s history.

Meanwhile, Philip Fulmer took over for Johnny Majors in east Tennessee in 1992 and promptly positioned the Vols as Florida’s main obstacle to the SEC East crown. His Vols beat Spurrier’s Gators in 1992, but wouldn’t again until 1998 on their way to Tennessee’s first national championship since 1951.

For 6 years, Fulmer dealt with blow after blow from Florida on the field and quip after quip from Spurrier off it.

Perhaps Spurrier’s best recognized shot at Tennessee during those years was his quote about the Volunteers regularly playing in the Citrus Bowl, the bowl season’s home to the SEC’s 2nd-place team.

“You can’t spell Citrus without the U and T,” jabbed Spurrier.

Heightening matters was the fact that Spurrier is originally from east Tennessee before playing his college football at Florida and winning the 1966 Heisman Trophy as a quarterback.

Not even top recruit and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, who directed the Vols at quarterback from 1994-1997, could break through against the Gators. He led Tennessee to the 1997 SEC championship during his senior year, but took his 4th loss to Florida earlier that season.

Tennessee’s HC Philip Fulmer and QB Peyton Manning couldn’t get it done against Florida in four tries together.

Tee Martin took Tennessee’s quarterback reigns in 1998 as the Vols finally knocked off the Gators in overtime in Knoxville — a win, as stated earlier, that eventually led Tennessee to the 1998 national championship.

The Florida-Tennessee rivalry ushered in the SEC’s new expansion era in the 1990s as television coverage exploded across the country. Between highly touted recruits and lofty national rankings, the rivalry was annually pointed to as the biggest September game of the season.

While it’s not #2 versus #4, Florida and Tennessee meet in Knoxville this Saturday night with both ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in many years and ESPN College Gameday in tow. That ’90s feeling is back, if only slightly.

Florida at Tennessee, Knoxville
6 pm EDT, ESPN

Gator Growls:

TC Palm: Gators Ready to Make Run at Vols

ESPN: Style Points Aren’t UF’s Goal

ESPN: Driskel’s Play is What Florida Needs

The Florida Times-Union: Gators Defense Hit with Injuries

Bradenton Herald: Muschamp Says RB Gillislee (Groin) ‘Should Be Fine’

Volunteer Voices:

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Not Like Old Days, But Gators, Vols in Top 25

The Tennessean: Florida’s Dominance of UT Has Been One Big Chomp

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Vols Gun for Gators: UT-Florida Matchup Generating Big Hype

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Vols Must Focus with Extra Hype

CBS Sports: Vols Turn to Walk-on Kicker Brodus Against Florida

Tennessee orange and N.C. State red (Credit: Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images)

Tennessee orange, N.C. State red, Auburn blue and Clemson orange were on full display this weekend at the Georgia Dome during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. Due to the proliferation of high-definition televisions in households across the country, Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO, and his crew decided to revive the long-standing college football tradition of both teams wearing their home colors before the advent of black-and-white televisions. It’s possible as long as the uniforms are of easily contrasted colors, and the Chick-fil-A Bowl first implemented it for last year’s bowl game between Auburn (blue) and Virginia (orange).

Auburn blue and Clemson orange (Credit: Dave Martin, AP)

Visiting teams were relegated to wearing white as a contrast so that viewers during the black-and-white television era could easily identify the teams from each other. The NCAA’s Article 3a read “players of opposing teams shall wear jerseys of contrasting colors, and the visiting team shall wear white jerseys.”

However, UCLA and USC had worn their colored jerseys against each other from 1929 to 1981 as they shared the Los Angeles Coliseum as a home field during that time. In 2006, the head coaches of both schools at the time, Karl Dorrell (UCLA) and Pete Carroll (USC), expressed interest in rejuvenating the tradition. The measure was put back in place for the 2008 game with the visiting coach, Pete Carroll, sacrificing one timeout under NCAA rules of improper equipment. Rick Neuheisel, then UCLA’s head coach, agreed to forfeit one of UCLA’s timeouts to even the playing field. The NCAA promptly changed the rule after the 2008 season to accommodate the renewed tradition of the UCLA-USC rivalry.

UCLA and USC have renewed their tradition from 1929-1981 of both teams wearing their colors

Under today’s rules, both teams must agree to wear colored jerseys — essentially leaving the decision to the home team — and they must be of easily contrasted colors.