Kirk Herbstreit says the SEC Championship could be a regular season rematch
ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit was a guest on “The Paul Finebaum Show,” and the two discussed a variety of college football topics including the SEC Championship race.
Herbstreit told Finebaum that despite Tennessee’s challenging schedule, he thinks the Third Saturday in October might not be the only 2016 meeting between the Crimson Tide and the Volunteers.
“I think Tennessee and Alabama could meet maybe not only once, but twice,” the GameDay host said.
Preceding the prediction for the rematch was a discussion of if UT can win the SEC East for the first time since 2007.
“They’ve got a couple helmet games that they’ve got to be able to overcome,” Herbstreit said about Butch Jones’ squad. “The first being Florida, early in the year. But let’s face it – they’ve played well enough over this last decade to probably win a few of those games, even last year. There’s just something about being able to get over that hurdle that says ‘hey we can beat a team like Florida.’ We’ll see if they get that opportunity.
“I do think they’re the team to beat. Of course we saw how competitive they were a year ago in Tuscaloosa. I’m sure that gave them confidence that they can play with some of the big boys in the country.”
For Herbstreit, the Volunteers’ 18 returning starters and veteran backfield make them the favorite in the SEC East.
While the two did not talk much about Alabama, they did discuss one of the Crimson Tide’s potential challengers in the SEC West, LSU.
“The problem is just a philosophy that Les Miles believes in,” Herbstreit said. “It’s worked for him for many, many years. They’re going to run the ball between the tackles. That’s their game. After what they faced in Tuscaloosa a year ago, that style of football didn’t work in that environment (…) Are they going to be more in an attack mode? If they flip that switch, they’ll be tough to beat for a lot teams in the SEC.”