Saban Prepares for First Alabama-Tennessee Game

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Nick Saban isn't ready to rate the Third Saturday in October rivalry game yet.

He'd prefer to experience Alabama versus Tennessee firsthand on Saturday in its traditional spot on the calendar before passing judgment.

He's taking his typical businesslike approach game. He's not blaring the Volunteers' Rocky Top or using orange jerseys to fire up his players.

The Tide (5-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) has a lot of motivation these days.

Alabama is suddenly in a three-way tie with LSU and Auburn for the Western Division lead.

That comes after back-to-back wins during a stretch of five straight games that have gone down to the final moments, including Saturday's 27-24 win over Mississippi.

Plus, it's Tennessee week, Saban's first taste of the border rivalry.

Tide players don't think he or the rest of the first-year coaching staff need any tutorial on what it means to fans from both teams.