Third Saturday in October
|First meeting||November 28, 1901
Tennessee 6, Alabama 6
|Latest meeting||October 24, 2015
Alabama 19, Tennessee 14
|Next meeting||October 15, 2016 (Knoxville, TN)|
|All-time series||Alabama leads, 52–38–7 (53–37–8 on the field)|
|Largest victory||Alabama, 51–0 (1906)|
|Longest win streak||Alabama, 11 (1971–81)|
|Current win streak||Alabama, 9 (2007–present)|
The Third Saturday in October, also known as the Alabama–Tennessee football rivalry, is an American college football rivalry game played annually by the Alabama Crimson Tide football team of the University of Alabama and Tennessee Volunteers football team of the University of Tennessee, approximately 315 miles (507 km) apart. It is known as the Third Saturday in October because the game was traditionally played on it prior to the 1992 football season, when the Southeastern Conference split into its Eastern and Western divisions. From 1995 to 2015, it has only been scheduled for that date six times, though in 2016 it will be scheduled for that date. Alabama leads the series 52–38–7 (53–37–8 on the field).
The first game was played in 1901 in Birmingham, ending in a 6–6 tie. From 1902 to 1913, Alabama dominated the series, only losing once, and never allowing a touchdown by the Volunteers. Beginning in 1928, the rivalry was first played on its traditional date and began to be a challenge for the Tide as Robert Neyland began challenging Alabama for their perennial spot on top of the conference standings.
Between 1971 and 1981, Alabama held an eleven-game winning streak over the Volunteers and between 1986 and 1994, a nine-game unbeaten streak. However, following Alabama's streak, Tennessee responded with a seven-game winning streak from 1995 to 2001. Alabama has won the last 9 meeting as of 2015, and 6 out of the last 9 meeting have been consecutive blowouts. Alabama currently holds 52–38–7, 53–37–8 on the field in the series.
The game has been played in 3 different cities. Alabama leads the series in all three venues: for games played in Birmingham, Alabama, by a record of 21–14–6 (21–13–7 on the field), for those contested in Knoxville, Tennessee, by a record of 23–20–1, and for games in the series played in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, by a record of 7–4 (8–4 on the field). Alabama won the last game, played on October 24, 2015, 19–14.
Alabama and Tennessee both have 12 shutouts in the series.
In the 1950s, Jim Goostree, the head trainer for Alabama, began another tradition as he began handing out cigars following a victory over the Volunteers. Both teams continued the tradition for some time, though kept it secret due to NCAA rules concerning extra benefits and tobacco products. Alabama publicly restarted the tradition in 2005, though as a result, self-reported an NCAA violation. Every year since 2005, the winning team knowingly violates the NCAA rule and reports the violation in honor of tradition.
Rankings are from the AP Poll
|Alabama victories||Tennessee victories||Ties|
1982: Bear Bryant makes his final trip to Neyland Stadium. #2 Alabama's 11-game win streak over the Vols comes to an end 35-28 as UT coach Johnny Majors is carried to mid-field in celebration to shake Bryant's hand one last time.
1998: The Vols continue their unexpected and undefeated march to Tempe and the national championship by edging Alabama 35-18 in Knoxville.
2003: #22 Tennessee, fighting to stay alive in the SEC East, travels to Tuscaloosa to take on the unranked Crimson Tide. The two teams end up going to an unprecedented five overtime periods before Tennessee finally breaks the ice in the fifth overtime scoring a touchdown and the mandatory two-point conversion. Alabama would fail to answer the touchdown and Tennessee escapes Tuscaloosa with the win. Tennessee has not won in Tuscaloosa since.
2005: Tennessee returns to Tuscaloosa working to salvage a disappointing 3-2 start to the season after opening the season ranked #2. Alabama comes in ranked #5 and undefeated. The game becomes a defensive clash as neither Tennessee QB Rick Clausen nor Alabama QB Brodie Croyle can find the end zone. With the score tied at 3-3 Tennessee nearly scored the game's first touchdown with 5:08 left in the game as RB Arian Foster caught a swing pass and ran for the end zone only for Alabama's Roman Harper to strip the ball away at the goal line for a turnover. Croyle drove the Tide down into field goal range where Jamie Christensen kicked the tie-breaking and game-winning field goal with 13 seconds left in the game keeping the Crimson Tide's undefeated season alive. 
2009: Alabama ranked #1 at home in Tuscaloosa, AL is heavily favored and carrying a 12-3 lead late into the fourth quarter when eventual Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram fumbles for the first time in 296 carries. Tennessee recovers the fumble and scores their first touchdown of the game 8 plays later, making the score 12-10. Tennessee then recovers the ensuing on-side kick at their own 41 yard line. The Tennessee drive stalls at the Alabama 28 yard line where Tennessee lines up for a would-be game winning field goal of 43 yards. Alabama's standout defensive lineman, Terrance Cody, blocks the low line-drive kick, his second blocked field goal attempt of the quarter, preserving the Alabama victory en route to an eventual National Championship.
- Cook, Beano (2001-10-17). "The third Saturday in October". ESPN Classic. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
- Browning, Al (2001). Third Saturday in October: The Game-By-Game Story of the South's Most Intense Football Rivalry. Cumberland House. ISBN 978-1-58182-217-5.
- "The Record Book" (PDF). University of Alabama Athletics. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
- Dunnavant, Keith (2006). "The Missing Ring". The Missing Ring: How Bear Bryant and the 1966 Alabama Crimson Tide Were Denied College Football's Most Elusive Prize. Macmillan. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-312-33683-7.
- "The Third Saturday in October". Associated Press. 2006-10-21. Retrieved 2008-10-25.