I grew up in the 1990s. When I was a kid, Tennessee football always beat Alabama. Between 1995 and 2006, the Vols were 10-2 against the Crimson Tide. Then Nick Saban came along. My beloved Big Orange has now gone 15 years without beating the Evil Empire.

Almost half of my life has passed with nothing but incompetence from Tennessee coaches and Saban’s monstrous teams running the score up on UT. But that may be changing with Josh Heupel taking over for the Vols.

Tennessee is 5-0, ranked No. 6 nationally, and looks as though they may have the best offense in America. And this week, something has been happening that is truly blowing my mind.

For the first time in 15 or so years, college football analysts that aren’t Vol homers are actually picking Tennessee to beat Alabama. And it’s not in an ironic “maybe UT can get magic bounces and upset Bama” kind of way. These talking heads are picking the Vols because Heupel’s squad just looks like a really good football team.

Barrett Sallee at CBS Sports proudly said he thinks the Big Orange will finally knock off the Tide…

Then, Josh Pate at 247 Sports predicted yesterday that Tennessee will beat Bama straight up, even if UA quarterback Bryce Young is healthy enough to play (start at 11:02 to skip to his prediction)…

It’s a wild time to be a Vols fan. I’m honestly not sure how to handle all of this. I want to tell everybody to slow their roll until Tennessee actually proves itself. But… they just beat LSU in Death Valley by 27. BY TWENTY-SEVEN. Is that not the team proving themselves?

So, I will not calm down. This is real. I just have no idea what I’ll do if these predictions are correct and UT actually beats Alabama. I feel like Will Ferrell in Talledega Nights right now…

Go Vols. 

Featured image via Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports