Apologies to the late philosopher Yogi Berra: This one was over before it was over.
It was over before the first verse of Rocky Top.
This one was Rocky Romp.
The first item of business when Butch Jones gets to his office Monday will be to call a building supply company and order another load or two of bricks.
Alabama displaced a number of Butch’s bricks when it waylaid the No. 9 Vols by a 49-10 margin before a sellout crowd that suffered a thousand deaths in Neyland Stadium Saturday.
Yes, I know the Vols were a severely wounded team going in against Goliath. Seven starters were injured. The Crimson Tide could have given the Titans a run for their money.
If there were any college football fans across the country that didn’t believe Alabama deserved to be No. 1 at this point in the season, they need professional help.
The Voice of the Crimson Tide, Eli Gold, needed a math degree to keep up with the points in this one. I’m surprised his voice didn’t have anything left at the end but a whisper.
Alabama scored in just about any way a football team could. They scored up the middle. They ran around the Vols ends like they were clothing store mannequins. They dominated in the trenches. Their defense was lethal. Their special teams were just that. Special.
No wonder Bama posted its 10th straight win in the longtime rivalry.
“It was a simple game,’’ Jones sighed. “It’s a line of scrimmage game. We had too many negative plays.’’
Bama recovered Tennessee fumbles. They intercepted quarterback Joshua Dobbs and took it into the end zone and held Tennessee’s ground game to 41 yards in the first half, as opposed to 309 yards Alabama was rolling up on the ground and through the air.
Alabama finished with 594 yards, while holding the Vols to 163 yards, only 32 yards rushing on 32 carries. The Vols longest run was 12 yards.
Alabama’s freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts played like a senior. He ran for 132 yards through a porous Vols defense, scoring three touchdowns in the process. And to think that before the season, there were doubters who thought the Tide didn’t have a quarterback that could take them to the promise land.
Not to worry.
And if any of those doubters think there is a better college football coach than Nick Saban, you’re just fooling yourself.
The man leaves no pebble unturned.
“We wanted to play a complete game and I think we did that today,’’ Saban understated.
The Vols will feel this one for some time, but they can’t afford to have a pity party. They still have the SEC East Division in play, despite the fact that Florida took the lead when they beat Missouri. Florida has one SEC loss. Tennessee now has two.
But the Gators have a game waiting for them in Baton Rouge, as LSU is going to host the reptiles in a game that was originally scheduled for a Florida home game before Hurricane Mathew came on shore. Florida will lose a head-to-head tiebreaker to Tennessee if it comes to that.
The Vols need to get up off the mat and win out. They will be favored against South Carolina, Tennessee Tech, Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt. That would be 10-2.
The schedule did not do Tennessee any favors. In Alabama they played their fourth straight ranked team. They need to heal the wounded before the end of the regular season. If they can win the East, they will meet Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
As much damage as Alabama did to Tennessee’s psyche, there is still much to play for.