The Fearless Prediction has been a staple of your lives for years. Together, we’ve seen fire and we’ve seen rain. We’ve felt heartache and we’ve felt pain.

But everything has led to this moment. This week we have to predict the result of a game between Tennessee and Alabama … when both sides are undefeated and ranked in the top 10.

Most books have Tennessee an underdog by at least 7 points against Alabama this week. Barstool’s risk-free $1,000 bet is a great way to dip your toes into betting the Vols for the first time. New users get your first bet refunded, up to $1,000, if you lose the bet. Barstool Sportsbook is live in Tennessee. Click here to get started.

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Here at the Fearless Prediction, we don’t take that responsibility lightly. Let’s give it our best shot.

The Tennessee Volunteers are a team absolutely no one wants to play right now. Their 40-13 victory at LSU last weekend was a performance so dominant, you almost had to shake your head to make sure you weren’t seeing things.

The fact that the Vols won the game wasn’t a huge surprise. But the way they won it — with a powerful offense, aggressive defense and opportunistic special teams — opened eyes across the college football world.

Is LSU a really good football team? No, my friends, it is not. However, it had won 4 in a row, and it looked as if it was turning the page at least a bit, especially on defense.

The Vols took away the Tigers’ will fairly early. That’s what the glory years Tennessee teams used to do to their opponents. Vols fans have been waiting … sometimes patiently, sometimes impatiently, for a team like the 2022 Volunteers to show up.

Well, it has arrived.

On the other hand, the steamroller known as Alabama football is showing the slightest signs of decay. Last week against Texas A&M, the Tide’s old bugaboo returned with 2 missed field goals. It also turned the football over 4 times.

This Bama offense is simply not as good with backup quarterback Jalen Milroe running things. It misses injured starter Bryce Young desperately, and only a couple of late stops from its defense (and very shaky play calling from the Aggies) allowed Alabama to eke out a 24-20 win.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban said that he is hopeful Young plays against the Vols. Young injured his shoulder in the win over Arkansas and hasn’t played in a game and a half.

Young won the Heisman Trophy last year. Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker has a chance to win it this year. Hooker has completed 70 percent of his passes for 1,432 yards and 10 TDs, and most importantly, no INTs. He also has rushed for 231 yards and 3 scores. Hooker is in complete control of Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel’s offense, and that has brought the Vols to a No. 6 ranking nationally.

Tennessee’s offense is the top-ranked unit in the nation, collecting an average of 547.8 yards per game. It is also doing this without its best wide receiver. Cedric Tillman suffered a high ankle sprain 3 weeks ago. His status for the Tide remains unknown.

Even with Young’s absence, the Tide rack up more than 500 yards per game. Jahmyr Gibbs rushes for 88 yards per game and another 36 catching footballs out of the backfield. Whether it is Young or Milroe playing quarterback, the Vols’ defense will have to contend with Gibbs.

Defensively, the Crimson Tide are still really, really good. Currently ranked 6th in the country, its best player is linebacker Will Anderson Jr., who has a whopping 10 tackles for loss and 5 sacks. Former Vol Henry To’o To’o (who should get a wonderful reception in Neyland, don’t you think?) leads the Tide in tackles with 39.

Tennessee’s defense might be ranked 87th nationally, but it has also forced 10 turnovers. Byron Young tops the Vols with 4.5 sacks, while linebacker Aaron Beasley leads UT with 35 tackles.

So here’s the deal. Tennessee has lost to Alabama 15 straight times. Ever since Saban showed up in Tuscaloosa, this rivalry has been completely one-sided toward the team in crimson and white. Since 2007, the result has been within 1 score only twice. The Vols have entered this game as a nationally ranked team only twice in this span as well.

Neyland Stadium was a madhouse a few weeks back when Florida came to town, and the atmosphere will be even more electric on Saturday afternoon.

This will be Tennessee’s best chance to beat Alabama since 2006. I just can’t bring myself to pick the Vols to beat the Crimson Tide until I actually see it happen with my own eyes.

Fearless Prediction time …

Alabama 38, Tennessee 34