It shouldn't surprise anyone that Alabama players felt slighted by Tennessee referring to the Crimson Tide as the "red team" last week.
After Alabama's 45-10 win over Tennessee on Saturday, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron said Tide players were motivated by the "red team" name.
"I felt disrespected," McCarron said. "To say we don't deserve the respect of calling us Alabama and calling us 'red team' and for their head coach to come out and say they can play against anybody.
"I don't think we're just anybody. We won two national championships in a row and we're undefeated right now. So we're not just anybody."
Tennessee's goal wasn't to disrespect Alabama. The Vols were trying to keep themselves from becoming intimidated before they traveled to face the nation's No. 1 team.
But Tennessee's intent doesn't matter. The result is Alabama drew extra motivation from the altered name.
Will West and I discussed the topic on Sports 180 on Wednesday and predicted the "red team" talk would create a stir in Tuscaloosa. The story drew headlines in Alabama leading up to the game. Andrew Gribble of AL.com joined our show and said the title added some extra "juice" to the matchup.
To be fair, Alabama was going to beat Tennessee with or without the "red team" talk leading up to the game. The Crimson Tide was a 28-point favorite for a reason. But if there was any chance Alabama would overlook Tennessee early in the week, that changed once Tide players heard about their new team name.
"We can be the red team, but we're going to be the Navy SEAL red team," Alabama cornerback Deion Belue said. "When we step in, everything stops and we get straight to business."
We'll discuss Monday on Sports 180 at 12 ET. Listen on FM 99.1, AM 990 or on the iHeartRadio app.
Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes has heard all the criticism.
He needs to work harder. He needs to become a better shooter. He needs to lose weight.
It wasn't easy for Stokes to hear, but he said he finally realized it was something that could help him get better.
"There were days I was in tears hearing some of these conversations, but it made me appreciate basketball a lot more," Stokes told The Sports Animal. "You never want to hear someone say you need to lose weight. But I lost weight."
Stokes said he's taken notes on the things he needs to improve on. He's used it as motivation to get ready for his junior season.
"I'm looking forward to having a good year and going back and looking at that and just seeing how much I've improved," Stokes said.
Another motivation for Stokes: his family. He said he wants to make sure he sets the right example for his younger brother, Isaiah Stokes, who's a talented athlete as a freshman in high school.
"I have a younger brother who looks up to me, watches everything I do," Stokes said. "There's no way I could fail him. With my whole mindset this year, everything I do I look back at my family and look back at where I came from and that helps me get through my day. That gave me motivation this summer to have a better outcome this year."
Click here to listen to the entire interview with Jarnell Stokes.
Pat Ryan isn't confident Tennessee has its quarterback of the future.
The Vols have four scholarship quarterbacks on their roster: junior Justin Worley, who has started each of Tennessee's first two games this season, redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman and true freshmen Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson.
Ryan, who played quarterback for the Vols in 1977 before spending 13 seasons in the NFL, told "Doc, Jeff & Heather" on The Sports Animal on Monday he wonders if any of Tennessee's four quarterbacks will be the long-term answer.
"It could be that our next quarterback's not even here," Ryan said. "That would be my guess, to be honest with you."
Ryan explained what he believes Tennessee's offense needs from its quarterback.
"I've got a feeling with this offense and this team, especially next year with the state of our offense, we're going to need somebody that can breakdown defenses," he said. "We're going to need somebody that can get out and make plays with his feet and his arm. And we're going to need somebody that can get it out of his hand quick. I don't know that we have that."
Listen to the entire conversation below.
Pat Ryan joins Doc, Jeff & Heather each Monday and Friday morning from 8-9 eastern time on The Sports Animal.
Austin Price, Volquest.com - 1:30 ET
Kyle Porter, CBSSports.com - 2:15
Here are some stories we'll be discussing on today's show.
Butch Jones has Tennessee's 2014 class ranked No. 1 in the country. How has he done it?
What a story: Phil Mickelson charged back on Sunday to win the British Open.
Tiger Woods was frustrated after he again struggled on Sunday of a major tournament.
Former Vol Tobias Harris has taken advantage of his opportunity with the Orlando Magic.
Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison was suspended "at least two games" to begin the season.
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd's response to Jadeveon Clowney: "I'm not afraid of anybody."
Peter King's new NFL website has launched: TheMMQB.com.
Tragic news: Former Auburn basketball player Korvotney Barber drowned this weekend. His friends speak of their brotherhood.
There are more developements with the academic scandal at North Carolina.
Duchess Kate is in labor, which means a Royal baby is on the way.
The Tennessee Smokies will remain... the Tennessee Smokies.
Smokies general manager Brian Cox confirmed on Sports 180 today the team was only joking when it announced this morning the franchise's new name would become the Tennessee Browns. The team's press release this morning stated it was a move to connect the franchise with chairman Jimmy Haslam's Cleveland Browns, which he purchased in October.
"We had a lot of fun with it today," Cox said. "Hopefully we didn't upset too many fans. We are going to stay the Tennessee Smokies. We love our name."
The Smokies will begin their season on the road on Thursday against Pensacola. Tennessee's first home game will be April 10 against Chattanooga.
Russ Lande expects Tyler Bray's NFL draft stock to rise.
Lande, who serves as the Scouting Director for the National Football Post, joined Sports 180 on Thursday. How does Lande grade Bray following his performance at last week's NFL Combine in Indianapolis?
"I really think Bray is a third-round player," Lande said of the former Tennessee quarterback. "The immense upside is there but he needs to be more consistent, especially with his footwork."
Bray has time to work on that between now and March 20, when Tennessee will hold its Pro Timing Day.
Lande said he believes Bray will be "spectacular" when he works out for NFL scouts on UT's campus thanks to the opportunity to throw passes to his former Tennessee teammates.
"Accuracy, timing, that will all be taken care of," Lande said. "It's going to be a scripted session, so I'm sure nothing is going to surprise him. There are not going to be any pass rushers in his face.
"He will be tremendous. I think a coach will fall in love with him and I think in the bottom of the first or the top of the second (round), he's going to get drafted because of that."
Lande said he expects Bray's former teammate, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, to be drafted in the first round. But there are still questions about Patterson following his performance at the NFL Combine.
"There's no question physically the tools are there," Lande said. "He's a big kid, he's got rare talent running with the ball in his hands, he can make highlight reel catches. But I think when you watched him in the physical part of the workout, you saw there were times where he didn't run the sharpest routes and he had trouble getting in and out of his breaks.
"And I don't think it's due to an inability to do it. I think it's due to sometimes he loses focus and I think I see that in games, so it wasn't shocking to see it during his workout."
There were also questions about Patterson following his interviews with certain NFL teams.
"They said he really wasn't impressive and led them to think that the problems he had on the field may not correct themselves as quickly as they would hope," Lande said.
What did Lande say about former Tennessee receivers Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers as well as other top NFL prospects?
Click here to listen to the full interview.