First, the faithful (and raucous) fans in Knoxville -- once they'd gotten done carrying a goalpost into the river -- had to believe that the rivalry was reborn with it no longer being one-sided. However, the other side of the rivalry with Alabama was left simply thinking that the Crimson Tide would end that first thought when the game went back to Tuscaloosa.
Then came the worst fear for Crimson Tide fans on Saturday as the rivalry matchup added another chapter.
Josh Heupel put all his faith in his rollercoaster QB Joe Milton against Alabama and Tennessee was able to put the Tide on upset alert early on. The Vols defense made life hell for Jalen Milroe while Milton connected for a big TD on his first drive of the game, helping start building an early 13-0 lead.
Alabama fans losing their minds on message boards while on upset alert vs. Tennessee
With Alabama on upset alert, fans were quick to enter the bad place. As always, our good friends at Message Board Geniuses were scouring the message boards to find only the most egregious instances of Crimson Tide fans descending into madness over this.
As seems to often be the case, Alabama immediately got back into the game after these messages were compiled as Milroe led a long drive that culminated in a touchdown pass to Jermaine Burton to cut the lead to 13-7.
Unfortunately, with a chance to take the lead, Milroe then threw an interception in the end zone to kill a potential scoring drive late in the second quarter.
We've known for some time that this might be a down year by Alabama standards. However, losing to Tennessee, a team also that's seemingly lesser-than compared to what we saw last season, might be too much for the fan base in Tuscaloosa to deal with.