The 19th ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs are one of the most surprising teams in the country. Always an underdog in their powerful conference, the team has won six in a row after losing to top five teams LSU and Auburn. They have a chance to prove they are a true contender against the 12th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide (also 7-2) lost to LSU last week, and are fighting to win their third straight SEC West division. The Tide are a 13 point favorite in the NCAA football odds.
The Alabama Crimson Tide offense hasn’t been getting the job done, especially its running game. They rank 34th in the nation, but running backs Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram have not been running at will like they were in the past. They are still highly effective, combining for 1,275 yards and 12 scores, but have been inconsistent. Quarterback Greg McElroy has played very well, throwing for over 2,000 yards with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs have been relying on their 14th ranked rushing attack to move the ball on offense. Running back Vick Ballard leads the team with 619 yards and 12 touchdowns, but quarterback Chris Relf has contributed 507 yards of his own. The passing attack is almost non-existent, but the running game has been good enough.
Both of these defenses rank in the top 10 in points allowed, so this should be a low scoring affair. Alabama’s defense is very solid, but if they have a weakness, it is against the run. The Bulldogs will have to try to exploit that weakness to have a chance at a victory.
Mississippi State is a team that nobody could have expected to be where they are today. They have a chance to take down Alabama and vault themselves into the conference title game. The Tide won’t go down so easily though, as still have plenty of respect and a BCS bowl game to play for.
College Teams: Alabama Crimson Tide, Mississippi State Bulldogs
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