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Insider

Five storylines: Alabama-Tennessee

10/17/2012

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- No. 1 Alabama travels to face Tennessee on Saturday for another edition of The Third Saturday in October. The Tide (6-0, 3-0 SEC) have won five in a row in the series and haven’t lost to the Volunteers since 2006. Tennessee hasn't beaten a No. 1 team since 1985 when it upset Auburn at home.

Here's five storylines for the game:

FIVE STORYLINES

1. The embattled Sunseris: It won't be easy for either Vinnie or Sal to handle the emotions of Saturday night. Sal, formerly an Alabama assistant, has never had to watch his son come out on the other side of the field. Vinnie Sunseri has never had to look over and see his dad in anything other than crimson. With the way Tennessee likes to throw the ball, Vinnie must have his head in the game.

2. McCarron's knee: Rumors are just that when it came to Tuesday's report that AJ McCarron tore his meniscus. It's still being labeled a "bruised knee" and he's expected to play. However, what his mobility will be is still in question. He doesn't need to be able to sprint or hurdle, but shifting around and avoiding the rush will be key to his success.

3. Defending the air: No quarterback has been able to test Alabama's ability to defend the pass. Tyler Bray is that man. The strong-armed quarterback has two very talented receivers to throw the ball to in Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson. Expect them to try and stretch the field and challenge the secondary when it comes to defending a vertical passing game.

4. Winning the line of scrimmage: Alabama hasn't faced an offensive line like Tennessee's yet. All five come in at more than 300 pounds and have gotten better each week. The Tide's pass rush has looked better in recent games, pressuring Corbin Berkstresser from start to finish on Saturday. But this Vols line is a different group of blockers.

5. Second-half effort: We've seen it every game this season -- Alabama gets out to a big lead and coasts home. It's understandable, but not acceptable to coach Nick Saban who has stressed a consistent effort all week.