Tennessee brings renewed confidence into rivalry game with No. 1 - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Tennessee brings renewed confidence into rivalry game with No. 1 Alabama

Posted: Updated:
Tennessee has built up some swagger going into its game against top-ranked Alabama, thanks to the recent success and head coach Butch Jones. (AP Photo/Wade Payne) Tennessee has built up some swagger going into its game against top-ranked Alabama, thanks to the recent success and head coach Butch Jones. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The Tennessee Volunteers don't think facing "the red team" sounds particularly scary.

That's what some Volunteers players have taken to calling the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in an effort to negate the intimidation factor for Saturday's game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

"When teams hear that name or when they come to play against them, they're mentally beat already when they step on the field due to the fact they're the No. 1 team," Tennessee wide receiver Alton "Pig" Howard said. "I'll give them credit, but we've got warriors on our team as well."

Nobody has really challenged Alabama this season except for No. 13 Texas A&M.

The Vols (4-3, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) aren't being given much of a chance by oddsmakers either. They're four-touchdown underdogs despite coming off a 23-21 win over then-No. 11 South Carolina and an overtime loss to then-No. 7 Georgia.

Alabama (7-0, 4-0) has outscored its last five opponents by a combined score of 201-16, including last weekend's 52-0 victory over Arkansas, another rebuilding SEC team.

The Tide also has owned this border rivalry lately, winning the last six meetings by an average of 23 points.

Vols coach Butch Jones downplayed the references to Alabama as the "red team."

"No big deal," Jones said.

The Tide, meanwhile, is trying to match the seven-game winning streak Tennessee produced from 1995-2001 that is the longest any team has produced against Alabama.

The Vols have built up some swagger going into this one, thanks to the recent success and Jones. Plus, anything seems possible after five ranked SEC teams fell last weekend with Alabama and Missouri remaining comfortably above the fray.

Tennessee center James Stone said an upset "would be incredible for this team." It wouldn't be as big of a stunner as it seemed before the South Carolina game, though.

One tradition in this game is the winners get victory cigars. It still caught Alabama safety Landon Collins by surprise when he was handed a stogey as a freshman last season.

"I'm like, 'What am I supposed to do with this?'" Collins said. "They said, 'You're supposed to smoke it.' I was like, I'll just keep it as a souvenir as my first win. That's what I did."

  • UAB SportsMore>>

  • UAB cruises to 48-10 win over Troy in season opener

    UAB cruises to 48-10 win over Troy in season opener

    Saturday, August 30 2014 10:29 PM EDT2014-08-31 02:29:34 GMT
    Cody Clements passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, while Jordan Howard rushed for two more in helping the University of Alabama-Birmingham beat Troy University 48-10 on Saturday.More >>
    Cody Clements passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, while Jordan Howard rushed for two more in helping the University of Alabama-Birmingham beat Troy University 48-10 on Saturday.
    More >>
  • Fans ready for start of football season

    Fans ready for start of football season

    Thursday, August 28 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-08-28 11:45:46 GMT
    For some people, tonight is just as exciting as Christmas Eve! Thursday kicks off the college football season. Many fans have been counting down the days.More >>
    For some people, tonight is just as exciting as Christmas Eve! Thursday kicks off the college football season. Many fans have been counting down the days.
    More >>
  • UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-08-26 19:13:29 GMT
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford loses to TCU, 48-14

    Samford loses to TCU, 48-14

    Sunday, August 31 2014 1:10 AM EDT2014-08-31 05:10:40 GMT
    Samford loses its season opener on the road to TCU...More >>
    Samford loses its season opener on the road to TCU...
    More >>
  • Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 2:59 PM EDT2014-08-27 18:59:15 GMT
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
  • No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:54:33 GMT
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.More >>
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.
    More >>