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Turning of the Tide? Alabama Has a Tennessee Problem in Two Sports

If the third Saturday in October didn't tell you, then Wednesday night certainly did: The Tennessee Volunteers own the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Nate Oats' top-ranked Alabama squad — led by future NBA lottery pick Brandon Miller — went to Knoxville and promptly got their butts handed to them 68-59, marking Alabama's first loss in conference play all season. The top dogs got knocked off in a game they weren't even favored to win according to sportsbooks.

Considering the upsets of upsets during the college football season — you know, the one that ended with the Neyland Stadium goal posts floating down the Tennessee River — I think it's time we talk about the (dead) elephant in the room. Tennessee owns Alabama now. I don't make the rules.

Tennessee's Multi-Sport Dominance Over Alabama

Tennessee vs. Alabama basketball.

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It's been a true turning of the Tide over the last year. Last October, the sixth-ranked Volunteers knocked off No. 3 Alabama in Knoxville. At one point, the Vols looked fully ready to supplant Alabama as the kings of the SEC, at least before they lost to Georgia and South Carolina. Alabama finished the season No. 5, while Tennessee finished No. 6, despite their same 11-2 records and the fact that Tennessee had beaten Alabama.

The 2022 college football season made fans wonder whether Nick Saban's dynasty had crumbled: Not making the College Football Playoff. Suffering two losses, one of which was to rival Tennessee and the other to rival LSU. Meanwhile, Tennessee soared to new heights.

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That worry in Tuscaloosa has now carried over to the basketball court. After Tennessee's throttling of Alabama on Wednesday night, Alabama fans are undoubtedly shaking in their boots whenever it's time to play the Vols. It doesn't matter what sport at this point. Baseball? Tennessee was one of the best teams ever last season. Softball? Well, that may be the last sport Tide fans have to cling to.

To truly understand how rare it is for Tennessee to beat Alabama in both basketball and football in the same season, you have to dig into rivalry history. The Vols' win on the gridiron was their first since 2006, and the basketball squad last beat Alabama in 2020.

We'll see who goes further when March Madness arrives, but make no mistake about it: Tennessee owns Alabama right now.

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