Staff Predictions for No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 17 Mississippi State
For the first time since Week 3 of this football season, Alabama controls its own destiny again in the SEC West. But even after another huge win, the Crimson Tide can't waste anytime refocusing because another ranked opponent awaits.
Alabama travels to Starkville with hopes to make it 8-straight against #17 Mississippi State. Oddsmakers have made Nick Saban's team an 8-point favorite, but this could be the most difficult opponent standing in the way of another trip to Atlanta.
Quarterback Dak Prescott leads the way for the 2-loss Bulldogs, and he'll give this stingy Alabama defense its biggest test of the season. Will the Crimson Tide answer the
cowbell? Here's what our staff thinks:
Barry Sanderson (Host of Inside the Locker Room)
Look for Bama to be solid in all 3 areas offense, defense and special teams. MSU will get a couple of late scores. Alabama 31, Mississippi State 17
Wimp Sanderson (Host of Inside the Locker Room)
Alabama will have a lot of success running the ball. This as always will be very physical game. Alabama 27, Mississippi State 13
Gary Harris (Host of The Gary Harris Show)
Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen is 0-6 against Alabama during his tenure in Starkville. Last season the Bulldogs came into Tuscaloosa unbeaten and ranked number one. The Dogs left Bryant-Denny Stadium with a 25-20 loss. This season after being picked to finish last in the SEC West, MSU is 7-2 and an upset victory over the Tide would be the biggest win of the Dan Mullen era. It won't happen. Alabama 31, Mississippi State 19
Chris Stewart (Host of The Chris Stewart Show)
As usual, this will be a tough, physical game for the Tide. But despite all the trap-game conversation, Alabama will be ready. Alabama 34, Mississippi State 17
Ryan Fowler (Host of The Game)
There are several different reasons to pick this game close. Mississippi State hangs their success in the 2015 season, thus far, on a victory against a 5-4 season (Auburn).
The Bulldogs struggle in stopping the run (10th in the SEC) and are 11th in rushing in the SEC. This is not a good recipe to beat Alabama and they will not win on Saturday. Alabama 31, Mississippi State 17
Ryan McMunn (Producer)
Ryan Fowler makes fun of me because apparently I write a novel to breakdown these games, so I'll keep it shorter I guess.
The Bulldogs have the best quarterback in the SEC in Dak Prescott, and his dual-threat ability will give them a chance to win this game, should they play flawlessly. But their defense is porous to say the least, and if Alabama sticks with their running game like they did against LSU, then this game will get ugly, and it'll get there quick, fast, and in a hurry.
I think the Tide will run the ball early and often, and it gets out of hand before halftime. Alabama 34, Mississippi State 14
Kevin Connell (Contributor)
After last week’s dominate performance against LSU, it would be easy for Alabama to overlook the next opponent on its schedule. If it does that against this particular opponent, though, it might spell trouble for the Crimson Tide.
This week, Alabama travels to Starkville to play a Mississippi State team capable of an upset bid. Ranked No. 17 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, the Bulldogs are third in total offense in the SEC – ahead of Alabama – thanks largely in part to one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, Dak Prescott.
But ultimately, that will be all for naught. While Prescott, a Heisman Trophy candidate a season ago before Alabama’s 25-20 over the then-No. 1-ranked Bulldogs derailed that, is having a better season than last, he won’t get the help he needs on the other end to slow down a hot Derrick Henry. Alabama 24, Mississippi State 13
Ben George (Digital Managing Editor)
We're always quick to talk about how difficult the Bulldogs are every year, but that's not really the case. Alabama's average margin of victory during the 7-game winning streak is nearly 20 points. The only time it got within 13 points was last year and State was ranked #1 in the country.
Derrick Henry might not get 38 carries this week, but he should get close to 30 and run for over 150 yards. There's a really good chance the cowbells go silent for much of the second half. Alabama 35, Mississippi State 17