Mississippi State’s game against Alabama in Starkville this weekend has many more implications on the SEC West than anyone expected it would in the beginning of the season.

The Crimson Tide are rolling right now after dismantling LSU 30-16 in Week 10. But the Bulldogs have a four-game winning streak of their own going and are starting to make some people believe that an upset wouldn’t be so crazy.

Here are some reasons why Mississippi State could derail Alabama’s quest for a College Football Playoff appearance this Saturday afternoon.

Playing at home

The first reason is obvious — the Bulldogs will be at home, and the fans will be there with their cowbells ready to go for this one. Although Alabama has a 3-1 record under coach Nick Saban in Davis Wade Stadium, Mississippi State has come within one touchdown late in the last two meetings with the Crimson Tide in Starkville. Alabama has an average margin of victory of 13.3 in the four games in Starkville, but that’s much better for the Bulldogs than the 20.3 points in Tuscaloosa.

Dak Prescott

Prescott is good enough to always give his team a chance to win. He is a much more mature and polished quarterback than he was a year ago against Alabama when he threw 3 interceptions. Prescott has been dissecting defenses from the pocket this season, but the threat of him using his legs is always there, which will keep the Crimson Tide defense guessing.

Alabama’s defense proved against LSU and running back Leonard Fournette in Week 10 that it’s pretty stout against the run, so Prescott and the Bulldogs might be well-served to go with a pass-heavy attack. Then again, Alabama’s secondary ranks 1st in the SEC, giving up 5.6 yards per pass attempt. But Prescott is on fire right now, throwing for 300 yards or more in three straight games and completing nearly 70 percent of his passes in that span. He has an incredible 18 touchdowns to just 1 interception on the season.

Coker’s inconsistency

Last season, Crimson Tide quarterback Blake Sims hurt Mississippi State with his arm and legs. Jake Coker does not possess that kind of dual-threat ability and has been inconsistent, at best, this season under center for Alabama. Coker’s decision making is questionable and he has already thrown 7 interceptions this season. He will be going up against a solid Mississippi State defense that has the 42nd-ranked pass defense in the country under defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.

Bulldogs underrated defense

Speaking of that Mississippi State defense, it’s flying under the radar while having a fantastic season. The Bulldogs rank No. 10 in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 17.2 points per game. Their 25 sacks and 74 tackles for loss both rank in the top four in the SEC. Richie Brown has really stepped up as the leader of this group and is playing at an All-SEC level.


After falling to 3-2 with a loss in early October to Texas A&M, Mississippi State has rattled off four straight wins by an average margin of victory of 24.3 points. Dan Mullen and his team must be feeling quite confident in themselves and will not be intimidated by the Crimson Tide. Virtually every Bulldog is playing their best at this point in the season, and they will be playing with a chip on their shoulder after last season’s tough 25-20 loss in Tuscaloosa.