After a disappointing season that saw the Crimson Tide finish 11-2 with losses to Tennessee and Auburn, Alabama will be out for blood this year. But, they’ll need to make it through the usual SEC gauntlet of teams, as well as possibly face the two-time defending national champions to return to their usual form.

According to ESPN’s Chris Low, Alabama’s ‘season-defining’ game won’t be a matchup with Georgia, but rather Tennessee. Here’s part of Low’s explanation:

The Tennessee game, in particular, looms large for Alabama. Beating the Vols would give the Tide an extra week with the bye to complete the sweep over Tennessee and LSU. Plus, nobody in crimson has forgotten the wild, field-storming scene at Neyland Stadium last season after Tennessee’s winning field goal snapped Alabama’s 15-game winning streak in the series.

Alabama has a host of games to be played at Bryant-Denny this season, including Ole Miss who comes to Tuscaloosa on Sept. 23, Tennessee on Oct. 21, and LSU on Nov. 4. With a bye week scheduled between Tennessee and LSU, a win against the Vols would give Alabama an advantage before the Tigers march into town.

Alabama hasn’t forgotten the pain of losing to Tennessee and having a swarm of fans in orange storm the field after Tennessee’s game-winning field goal last season. The win was the first time the Vols defeated Alabama in 15 games. The Crimson Tide will be on the hunt, and look to be back to championship form headed into the season.

Alabama will kick off the season with Middle Tennessee on Sept. 2, 2023.