Alabama Football: Putting the Tennessee Rivalry in Perspective
By: Larry Burton
Seven years is a very long time to a high school senior. It’s the year when he makes a decision where to go and spend his college years. If you’re a top rated football player, then that decision is very much magnified.
In the mindset of that high school senior his world is a six to seven year window, a snapshot if you will.
When a young man is in the sixth grade, he starts paying attention to the colleges that are on the map and the college rivalries that make national attention. Those schools who are on the map in that period and play in the top rated rivalries that mean something get that extra attention that all schools want.
Over the last seven years, Tennessee has lost six of seven games and the last five in a row against Alabama and haven’t been really a player on the nation’s main stage. The “Third Saturday in October” used to be a game that made everyone in the nation sit up and pay attention to, but it’s lost that luster now.
Though Alabama fans and Tennessee fans still think of this as a big game, the fact is, for the majority of young people, it’s just another yawning game of an SEC have and an SEC have not.
Recently this week, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley put all this in perspective when he said that Alabama merely drafts players while his team has to work its butt off to recruit them. Basically he said that Alabama gets the first 25 draft picks and then schools like Tennessee fight over the rest.
While that may be an overstatement of fact, there is no denying that there is some shred of truth to that statement.
But to be fair, this series used to be the other way around.
Prior to this last seven year period, Tennessee won nine out of ten years including a streak of seven in a row.
Prior to those ten years, Alabama won eight out of nine games with one tie. See the trend here?
This is a rivalry of streaks. It seems like it always has been. That puts things into perspective for the younger generation.
For Tennessee fans, they just want the pendulum to swing back quickly.