Game 8 Prediction: MSU at Alabama

• The matchup: No. 13 MSU (7-0, 3-0 SEC) at No. 1 Alabama (7-0, 4-0)

• The kickoff: 7:30 p.m., ESPN

• The weather: The high Saturday in Tuscaloosa will be about 65 degrees, and it’ll drop down to 44 overnight. So it’ll be nice and cool, little to no chance of rain. Perfect.

• The line: Alabama –24


There are some pretty good reasons why MSU could pull the upset here. More good reasons that it couldn’t, but let’s look at the positives.

Tyler Russell is playing the best football of his career right now and has an array of weapons at his disposal. While it has put up good numbers this fall, Alabama’s pass defense can at times be susceptible to the big play. And this is the best offense the Crimson Tide has faced so far. It’s a balanced offense, so if LaDarius Perkins and friends can get something going, Bama will have to pick its poison.

MSU’s defense has been stingy, especially against the pass. Johnthan BanksDarius Slay and the other guys back there have been big-time playmakers this season, and perhaps they can be the first to get to Alabama QB A.J. McCarron. Some help from the defensive line and blitzing linebackers would be nice, and one wonders if defensive coordinator Chris Wilson might unleash some things we haven’t seen much of yet.

MSU is plus-17 in turnovers, and turnovers are usually the biggest factor in an upset. Of course, Bama is good at the turnover game, too. And hey, special teams play has, on the whole, been a strong point for the Bulldogs.

The fans certainly believe MSU can win. They’ve started a Twitter trend today with the #WeBelieve hashtag, so there’s an expectation level there that wasn’t present before. And I think the players believe more than they ever have that Bama can be beaten. The Bulldogs want to do big things this year, and beating the Tide opens doors for that.

So will it happen? It’s certainly possible, especially if MSU is clicking in all facets. But for me it comes down to the fact that Alabama has more depth and talent, is at home, and has enough respect for State that it won’t be caught looking ahead to LSU next week.

• The prediction: Alabama 24, MSU 13.

I am the online content coordinator for I also co-host The Memo and Prep Rally podcasts and host the Newsbreak program. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04).

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  • Sadly, I agree. Let’s just keep it close and somewhat fun.

  • stevemsudog

    I think kickoff was moved back to 7:40 pm…

    • Brad Locke

      Yeah, I’m not sure if that’s set or simply an option for ESPN if it needs it. Either way, hitting deadline’s gonna suck.

  • cowbellblisters

    At least you have us beating the spread. LOL I think our defensive front seven will decide this thing. If we can stuff the run and pressure AJ, we wll win.

  • MabenMaroon

    MSU is much stronger two-deep at this point and the adrenalin and confidence can carry them for the full four quarters. At this point in time last year we were mediocre in t.o. margin, bottom third in the country in most penalized, had an O-line that was beaten up and battered and did not have a qb or offensive scheme that could play from behind or sustain drives long enough to garner a couple of first downs and flip the field position. All of this has been drastically improved, coupled with a defense that is every bit the equal ( actually much superior ) to last years defense and throw in some things that Coach Mullen and the staff have hidden up their sleeves ( that they haven’t had to show or use so far this year ), I see us winning by 7 to 11 points if they play clean, sound and sharp…a close game going down to the final possesion if they struggle with their mental focus and concentration.

  • Bama1st

    Dream on. Mississippi State is king of the Sunbelt. Saturday they find out they’re the same old State. Roll Tide

    • Brad Locke

      TROLL TIDE! Ha. Let’s be nice, people.

    • Dawgy in MOB-TOWN

      TSUN has been your hardest GAME all year BAMA120th!! WE are coming to HIT YALL STRAIGHT IN YOUR MOUTHS!! Is that nice enough BRAD??

  • khonn

    As an Alabama fan, this is one of my favorite games to watch. I was born in Gulfport, MS, raised in Pensacola, FL and my favorite team is Bama…I know, go figure…Deddy was a Bear Bryant fan…but, I have been to Starkville twice to watch these two teams go at it and I loved it. The campus and stadium are classic. The State fans are always fun and welcoming….I hope y’all receive the same hospitality in Tuscaloosa.

    I know that this State team is good and I am worried. I hope Saban has his team realizing that they are playing an undefeated SEC team. Miss St needs to be treated and prepared with the same intensity as LSU. This team isn’t looking to upset Bama, they are looking to win the SEC West. Good luck Bulldogs!

    Roll Tide

  • How many ranked teams has State played?

    • jaxdawg

      None, unless Auburn was ranked at the time. I don’t remember. How many ranked teams has Alabama played? By my count, that is one – Michigan. Your point?

  • I’m a Bama fan and I agree with the writer. I doubt it is going to be the 21 point spread Vegas has put out. If you’re a better, better not go there! Everyone is hyped! That will make the enviornment electric and VERY exciting! Welcome to Tuscaloosa State fans and RTR!!!!!!
    Ya’ll don’t dare hurt A.J.’s knee. We have several more games to play.

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