So, I almost didn’t go to last weekend’s Tennessee-Alabama game. I had been doing a lot of traveling lately and frankly was exhausted.

But I thought that if I missed the game when I had the opportunity to attend and something amazing happened, I would kick myself for years.

Well, I attended the game.

And I’m happy I did.

I turn 50 years old in December. There have been a lot of big Tennessee victories over those nearly 5 decades.

Here’s my list of the 10 biggest Volunteers victories in my lifetime:

10. Sept. 29, 1985: Tennessee 38, Auburn 20, in Knoxville

Top-ranked Auburn brought future Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson to Neyland Stadium. The Vols defense held Jackson to only 80 yards on the ground.

The best player on the field this day was Tennessee quarterback Tony Robinson. He threw for 259 yards and 4 scores on the way to the upset. This was the biggest win for the Vols on their way to the SEC title that season.

9. Dec. 6, 1997: Tennessee 30, Auburn 29 — SEC Championship Game, in Atlanta

The Vols lost to Florida earlier in the season but, after the Gators tripped up twice, Tennessee found itself in the SEC Championship Game for the 1st time since the game was born in 1992.

Peyton Manning threw for 373 yards and 4 scores, the biggest of which was a 73-yard hookup with Marcus Nash that put the Vols ahead to stay.

That win cemented Manning’s legacy.

8. Nov. 9, 1991: Tennessee 35, Notre Dame 34, in South Bend

Trips to Notre Dame are always special, and this journey was the most memorable of the bunch.

The Vols fell behind 31-7 before a blocked field goal return by Floyd Miley at the end of the 1st half gave Tennessee some momentum.

Tennessee led 35-34 in the final seconds as the Fighting Irish lined up for a field goal that would win the game. But Vols defensive back Jeremy Lincoln got a jump so perfectly timed that he nearly dove past the ball before it was kicked. Lincoln actually blocked the kick with his backside, and the “Miracle at South Bend” was complete.

7. Nov. 14, 1998: Tennessee 28, Arkansas 24, in Knoxville

The Vols had moved to the top of the newly born BCS standings as they welcomed Arkansas to Knoxville in a battle of undefeated teams.

The Razorbacks jumped out to a 21-3 lead, forcing the Vols to play catch-up all afternoon.

When the Vols turned the football over on downs with 1:54 remaining and trailing 24-22, it looked like Tennessee’s national championship dreams were sunk.

But Tennessee’s Billy Ratliff pushed offensive lineman Brandon Bulsworth into quarterback Clint Stoerner’s cleat, forcing a fumble he would recover at the Arkansas’ 43.

Following the “Stumble and Fumble,” the Vols gave the ball to running back Travis Henry 5 straight times. His 1-yard plunge with 31 seconds left gave Tennessee the 28-24 win, keeping its SEC and BCS title hopes alive.

6. Oct. 14, 1995: Tennessee 41, Alabama 14, in Birmingham

Between 1932 and 1997, every game in Alabama between the Vols and Tide was played at historic Legion Field in Birmingham.

Heading into the 1995 game, the Vols were winless in 9 tries against Alabama. Tennessee folded at key times in many of those games. But not on this night.

On the 1st play from scrimmage, Manning and Joey Kent hooked up for an 80-yard TD. Tennessee would race to a 21-0 lead and coast to the win.

Manning would lead the Pride of the Southland Marching Band in the playing of Rocky Top, in the heart of the state of Alabama.

5. Oct. 16, 1982: Tennessee 35, Alabama 28, in Knoxville

Alabama was undefeated and ranked in the top 5. Tennessee was unranked and had already lost to Vanderbilt and Duke. There was no reason to believe the Vols would pull the upset.

But Tennessee intercepted a pass in the end zone in the final minute to secure the victory. Fans stormed the field as the Vols snapped an 11-game losing streak to their biggest rival. Tennessee head coach Johnny Majors was carried to midfield, where he shook the hand of the coach he defeated, Bear Bryant.

It would be the last game Bryant coached against the Vols.

4. Jan. 1, 1986: Tennessee 35, Miami 7, in New Orleans

The Hurricanes were ranked 2nd in the country and in the middle of their historic, dynastic run. They arrived in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl certain of a win that could earn them at least a share of the national championship.

But the Superdome was taken over by Tennessee fans. After giving up an early touchdown, the Vols rattled off 35 unanswered points on their way to the upset. Jeff Powell’s 60-yard TD run in this game was one of the most memorable plays in Tennessee history.

3. Sept. 19, 1998: Tennessee 20, Florida 17 (OT), in Knoxville

The Vols had lost 5 straight games to the hated Gators, never able to get over the hump despite having Manning at quarterback for 3 of those games. But 107,653 fans were there the night Vols linebacker Al Wilson became a Tennessee legend, recording 12 tackles, a sack and 3 forced fumbles.

Jeff Hall kicked a 42-yard field goal to give the Vols the lead in overtime. When Collins Cooper’s 32-yarder went wide left, a raucous celebration was underway and Tennessee fans stormed the field and tore down the goalposts. The whereabouts of the CBS camera bolted to one of the crossbars remains a mystery.

“Pandemonium Reigns!” was the call by the voice of the Vols, John Ward.

Boy was he right.

2. Oct. 15, 2022: Tennessee 52, Alabama 49, in Knoxville

We are often prisoners of the moment, but I couldn’t do this list without having Saturday’s win over the Crimson Tide this high.

The Vols had lost 15 in a row to Alabama and had rarely been competitive during that stretch.

Chase McGrath’s 40-yard wounded quail of a kick looked as beautiful as a Great Smoky Mountain sunrise and sparked a wild celebration inside Neyland Stadium.

The victory brings Tennessee back into the national college football conversation for the 1st time in a couple of decades.

If anyone is looking for the goalposts, check the Tennessee River.

1. Jan. 4, 1999: Tennessee 23, Florida State 16, in Tempe, Ariz.

When you’ve gone 47 years without winning a consensus national title, this must be at the top of the list.

Despite being 12-0, the SEC champions and the top-ranked team in the country, Tennessee was the underdog against the Seminoles.

But Tee Martin and Peerless Price were not to be denied, hooking up for 199 yards through the air. Their decisive 79-yard TD pass play in the 4th quarter was the difference in the Vols’ victory.

— Honorable mention: 1995 Ohio State (Citrus Bowl), 1998 Georgia, 1998 Mississippi State (SEC Championship Game), 2001 Florida, 2003 Alabama, 2003 Florida, 2004 Florida, 2004 Georgia, 2005 Texas A&M (Cotton Bowl), 2005 LSU, 2006 California, 2007 Georgia, 2016 Florida, 2016 Georgia.