The heavily favored, Alabama football team has things to prove against Mike Leach’s Mississippi State Bulldogs.
It is time to put Halloween references aside and dive into the Alabama football contest against Mississippi State. According to the Action Network, the Crimson Tide is a four-plus touchdown favorite.
With infrequent exceptions, Alabama football has dominated the Mississippi State Bulldogs going back to the 19th century. Saturday night’s game will be the 105th between the Crimson Tide and its neighbor just 80 miles west. The overall series record favors the Tide at 84-17-3. In the 62 games going back to 1958, the Bulldogs have won seven to the Tide’s 55 wins.
The current Crimson Tide win streak of 12 games is not its longest run against the Bulldogs. In 1981-1995, the Tide won 15 straight. The series, streak record is 22 Crimson Tide wins in 1958-1979.
Given the history, No. 13 in the current streak of wins will not be especially noteworthy. Which is different from saying Alabama football has nothing to prove against Mississippi State. More than the score, Alabama football players want to make statements on Saturday night.
Mississippi State has a good defense, No. 1 in the SEC in average yards allowed. The Tide offense will look to blow past the Bulldogs’ average of 295.5 yards allowed. Steve Sarkisian will not unveil new wrinkles in his offense. Those will be saved for stronger competition. Sark and his offensive team will look to explosive plays to prove the attack, without Jaylen Waddle, remains dangerous.
The Crimson Tide defense wants to show it can contain the Leach, Air Raid offense. There will be dozens of passes to defend. The less proven members of the Tide secondary will have many chances to show improved play. The Bulldogs have been weak in pass protection. The Tide defense will be determined to show consistency in getting to a quarterback.
The Tide’s set of motivations will keep the game interesting, no matter how one-sided it may become.
While waiting for the Tide’s 6:00 PM kickoff, there are games worth watching. Without Trevor Lawrence, Clemson will not have trouble winning against Boston College. But scouting Trevor’s backup will interest Alabama football fans. Michigan vs. Michigan State is an intense rivalry. The Texas vs. Oklahoma State game will be pivotal to the Big 12’s chances for a CFB Playoff team. LSU at Auburn will get plenty of attention, though some Crimson Tide fans will root for both teams to lose.
New for the Crimson Tide
- LaBryan Ray will be held out for more recovery time before the LSU game.
- JUCO cornerback, Ronald Williams was fully cleared medically and practiced this week. He could see his first Crimson Tide action against the Air Raid.
- Saturday night will be an audition for which Tide player or players step into the fourth receiver slot previously held by Slade Bolden. Many Tide fans are convinced it will be freshman, Javon Baker.
Who is the last Mississippi State coach with a win over the Crimson Tide? Former Alabama football All-American and Crimson Tide assistant coach (and Tuscaloosa native) Sylvester Croom. Croom’s 2006 and 2007 Mississippi State teams beat the Tide.