No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-1 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. No. 20 Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-2 SU, 6-3 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Saturday November 14th, 3:30PM EST
Where: Davis Wade Stadium Starkville, M.S.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ALA -7.5/MSU +7.5
Over/Under Total: 50
Last week in one of the biggest games of the season with SEC Championship and College Football playoff implications on the line, the Alabama Crimson Tide delivered one of their most convincing performances of the season with a 30-16 victory over no. 2 LSU. The win moved the Crimson Tide back into the thick of the playoffs discussion and they now control their destiny if they can close out the season with wins. However, that road will not be easy as evident by this Saturdays trip to Starkville in what promises to be a tough matchup with the no. 20 Mississippi State Bulldogs inside Davis Wade Stadium.
The Bulldogs have racked up 4 wins since their last loss to Texas A&M back in the first week of October and have had a lot of momentum going on the offensive side of the ball. Star quarterback Dak Prescott had somewhat of a slow start to the season but he is finally firing on all cylinders. Prescott is throwing the ball accurately and making plays with his running ability. In the last two games against SEC foes Kentucky and Missouri, the Bulldogs star quarterback has accounted for 10 total touchdowns with 651 yards through the air and another 164 on the ground. Prescotts running ability actually causes defenses more problems than his arms at times and with this offense performing at a high level due to his play; it will be interesting to see how the Bulldogs offense matches up against Alabamas stout defense.
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Of course I am sure there are a lot of folks that are questioning just how good is this Mississippi State team? After all the Bulldogs lost both of their games against ranked teams in LSU and Texas A&M. Coach Dan Mullens group has handled business in all other contests but they have also been nearly double digit favorites or more in those games as well. I think the offense is performing well enough to give Alabama a run for their money. Of course I would have never thought the Crimson Tide defense would have shutdown Leonard Fournette to the tune of just 31 rushing yards but I still think Mississippi State can stand their ground on offense this week.
There is no doubt that the Crimson Tide defense is one of the best groups in the country. They are tough in the trenches and do a great job of stopping the run. However unlike LSU, the Bulldogs offense can go to the air with confidence behind the arm of Prescott. Prescott is hitting 67% of his passes on the year with 18 touchdowns and only 1 interception. If he can continue to be accurate this Saturday and avoid the turnovers, the Bulldogs have the receivers on the outside (DeRunnya Wilson and Fred Ross) to matchup with Alabamas secondary.
My question is will Mississippi State make enough plays? Alabamas offense has looked pretty darn good in recent weeks. In fact, running back Derrick Henry may have stolen the lead in the Heisman Trophy race with last weekends huge performance against LSU. Henry carried the ball 38 times in true work horse fashion to rack up 210 yards with 3 touchdowns. In tough situations this offense relies heavily on Henry and that could be the case again this Saturday. Quarterback Jake Coker is actually playing well so its not like the offense has been forced to run the ball. It is just a pedigree of Nick Sabans offenses and they have the talent to run the football straight to the college football playoffs until someone proves they can stop the ground attack.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Mississippi State has not defended the run well this season and I really do not believe this Bulldogs team is on the same level as Alabama right now. In fact, I am not sure that anybody is for that matter. The Crimson Tide continue to roll here and pull away in the 2nd half. Take Alabama -7.5
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