The Alabama-Tennessee game, better known as the Third Saturday in October, has always been one of the biggest rivalries in the SEC. The Iron Bowl, played in the last weekend of college football between Alabama and Auburn, however, is one of the biggest rivalries in all of college football.
The meeting between the Crimson Tide and the Volunteers in two weeks might just mean a little more this year, but head coach Nick Saban seems to think that rivalry means more to his players than the Iron Bowl in general. He joined a weekly radio show in Tuscaloosa and made a pretty bold statement about the meeting with their SEC East counterparts.
Nick Saban said the Tennessee game is the biggest game to the players. Said that's no disrespect to the Iron Bowl.
— Aaron Suttles (@AaronSuttles) September 30, 2016
While this may come as a shock to many fans, the rivalry game in the middle of the college football season has actually been played more times than the one that closes the season. 18 more times to be exact as Alabama has played Tennessee 98 times while only playing in-state rival Auburn 80 times.
Either way, the Crimson Tide know how to win against both the Vols and Tigers as they control the two series 52-38-7 and 44-35-1 respectively. Many would expect Alabama to add wins in both rivalries this year, but you never know what is going to happen.
The Crimson Tide meet up with the Volunteers in what could be an early preview of the SEC Championship Game on Oct. 15. That game will be played at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.