|The fact that MSU fans are trying so hard to let everyone know they believe is a good sign that they probably don't.|
This year AJ McCarron has thrown the exact same number of INTs as Mississippi St has won national titles in their HISTORY. In all NCAA sports COMBINED: 0
Tonight, Alabama will face an SEC opponent that is undefeated. They are 7-0. They are a division rival. And Alabama is a 24 point favorite. I can't help but laugh at the level of national disrespect that MSU is getting going into this game. This is the first time since 1942 that Alabama and Mississippi State are facing each other, while BOTH being undefeated.
But I think it's more a show of respect for everything we have seen from Bama, than a slight of the Bulldogs. MSU has played the weakest SEC schedule so far, only having to beat Auburn, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Other than that, they have played Troy, Middle Tennessee, Jackson State, and South Alabama. Any MSU team from the past 5 years would be at LEAST 6-1 against that stretch. They front loaded their schedule to allow for the most early success, for confidence reasons or whatever. Either way, it has worked like a charm. They are still gonna lose at least 2 games, including the one tonight and to LSU. Ole Miss and Arky aren't gimme's either. Especially the Rebels, IMO.
Stats, Comparisons, And Rankings
While it is true that State has the exact same record as Alabama, if you look deeper you will see a stark contrast in the two teams.
Defense: Bama is ranked No. 1 in the nation. State is 25th
Passes Defended: Bama is 16th in the nation. State is 52nd
Sacks: Bama is 21st in the nation. State is 82nd.
63% of State's rushing yards and 73% of their TD's have come against Non-SEC opponents.
The opposite is true of Bama. 66% of yards and 77% of our TD's have been against SEC teams.
State has the SEC's leading individual rusher in LaDarius Perkins, but he is their bellcow.
As a TEAM, Alabama is 2nd in the SEC in rushing, while MSU is 7th. The combo of Lacy/Yeldon beats the HELL out of Perkins. Perkins has 724 yards. Lacy and Yeldon have combined for over 1,100, each with around 570
Nationally, Alabama is 20th in rushing. State is only 47th.
Bama is 14th in the nation in scoring offense. State is 27th.
State has the edge in turnovers forced with 21 to Bama's 20, but 8 of their 12 INTs have come against the Non-SEC sissies I have mentioned.
State is 56th in the nation in passing offense, while Bama is only 75th, but Bama LEADS THE NATION in passing efficiency. We don't make mistakes. At all. EVER.
In the SEC, Miss St ranks behind or about the same as Tennessee in every offensive category. And we saw what Bama's D did to the Vols.
State's QB Tyler Russell has been impressive, throwing 15 TD's and only 1 INT. Bama counters with better numbers there, as AJ McCarron has thrown 16TD's and ZERO (0!!!) INTs
As far as the corners go, Dee Milliner and Johnthon Banks compare favorably, and some people disagree on which one is the best in the SEC.
Milliner has had 25 passes thrown his way this season. The TOTAL yardage for the opposing QBs on those 25 passes: 77 yards.
I'll give the edge to Dee.
As far as stopping the run, State is only 47th in the nation (Same as their rushing offense. Weird). But they are 47th in the nation at stopping the run. And this despite the fact that they have yet to face a team that poses even a remote threat to run the ball. Alabama's offensive line and running game is going to be NFL level compared to what State has seen this year. And they have been AVERAGE against what they have seen this year so far. HUGE advantage to Alabama here.
There are plenty more stats and I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that, while it's great that MSU is 7-0, and they have every right to believe in their team, Alabama is CLEARLY the better team here and it's not really that close.
The 24 pt line is about right, but I'll go a step further and say that Bama wins even bigger. It might be within 14 at the half. Something like 20-6. But I think Bama will run away with it in the end.
Miss St 9
Nick Saban has a message for Alabama fans for this game:
At Mississippi State, they believe. At Alabama, we know. Roll Tide