Oct 14, 2022 - Sports

College football heats up with Tennessee-Alabama game

A college football stadium filled with fans.

A home game at Neyland Stadium in September. Photo: Donald Page/Getty Images

​​Cigars are selling like crazy. College GameDay is coming back. And Tennessee is ready to host one of the biggest games Knoxville has seen in many years.

  • The matchup against Alabama begins at 2:30pm Saturday.

Why it matters: Tennessee hasn't beaten Alabama since 2006. But the team's electric upswing this year offers a real chance to reset the rivalry.

  • If the Vols manage to send the Neyland Stadium crowd home happy, they could establish themselves as a serious contender for the College Football Playoff.

Driving the news: Tennessee comes into the game with a 5-0 record and ranked No. 6 in the AP College Football Poll.

  • Alabama is also coming in undefeated, and slightly higher in the rankings at No. 3.
  • Fireworks are all but certain, but fans are hoping ESPN will up the ante with a Dolly Parton appearance during College GameDay coverage.

πŸ’­ A thought bubble from Axios' Jeff Tracy: We all know the might of Alabama, but despite the Tide's 6-0 record, they have looked uncharacteristically beatable in multiple games this season.

  • The Vols have looked as dominant as any team in the nation this year and probably can't wait to prove the bookmakers β€” who made them seven-point underdogs β€” wrong.

State of play: Interstate 40 is sure to be crowded as fans from Nashville make the three-hour trek east.

Yes, but: Tickets are sold out, and some of the resale prices sail well over $1,000.

  • Thankfully, our readers have suggested some of their favorite sports bars, if you're forced to watch the game from Middle Tennessee.

πŸ— Ben P. suggests The Centennial in the Nations, in part because of their "great wings."

😎 Stephen E. recommends Beyond the Edge in East Nashville.

πŸ“Ί Alan B. went with the Corner Pub's downtown location, although he concedes "we could use a few more pure sports bars downtown."

πŸ• The Nashville chapter of the UT alumni association hosts watch parties at BoomBozz in East Nashville.

πŸ’­ Adam's thought bubble: My hot takes on sports are tepid at best, but I can weigh in on food options for folks taking a day trip to Knoxville.

  • If you're looking for a midpoint pit stop, Cookeville is a must. Ralph's Donut Shop in the heart of town is a blast of sugar-sweet joy.
  • During my first visit there years ago, they shoved a free cruller into my hand before I could say hello. (And yes, they have a pumpkin spice doughnut.)

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