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2012 College Football Week 9 Picks: Alabama over Mississippi State

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2012 College Football Week 9 Picks: Alabama over Mississippi State
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Before I get into our game of the week, I must touch on my Week 8 write-up where I poked fun at a Kansas State team that crept into the national conversation without much fanfare. I thought a trip to Morgantown would for sure expose the weaknesses in the Wildcats' offense and defense, but as it turned out, the script was flipped and it was West Virginia and Geno Smith that were exposed on Saturday night.

So, as is accustomed in many of the features on WhatIfSports.com, I quote one Happy Gilmore as part of my apology:

"I'm stupid. You're smart. I was wrong. You were right. You're the best. I'm the worst. You're very good-looking. I'm not attractive."

Hopefully that allows us to bury the hatchet and move on with the rest of the college football season. Kansas State is not to be underestimated and overlooked in 2012.

All right, on to the SEC West Showdown and annual 90-mile Drive: Mississippi State at Alabama.

The Crimson Tide has won the last four meetings by a combined score of 117-27. Turns out, Alabama's football identity remains its lockdown defense. Through the first seven games, Nick Saban's defense has allowed 58 points or 8.3 points per game (that includes two shutouts).

On offense, A.J. McCarron continues to manage the passing offense—a la Alex Smith or Christian Ponder in the NFL—with 16 passing touchdowns and no picks (passing offense is ranked 75th in the country). Meanwhile, the rush attack (20th in country, 219.4 yards per game) adopted a next-man-up mentality after an injury knocked Jalston Fowler to the sidelines. Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon have combined for over 1,100 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

Bulldogs' head coach Dan Mullen will be forced to answer plenty of questions regarding his team's 7-0 start and if it defines how good his squad really is this season.

Why? Well, their 3-0 SEC record has come against squads that are a combined 0-14 in the conference (Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee). Three of their non-conference wins came against opponents out of the Sun Belt. It would truly be difficult to gauge what their most quality win has been to this point.

What does Mississippi State have going for them?

McCarron will face Mississippi State's 21st-ranked passing defense. The defense is 48th against the rush (allow over 139 rush yards per game), but have only allowed five touchdowns via the ground.

On offense, junior quarterback Tyler Russell has thrown 15 touchdowns with only one pick this season. LaDarius Perkins is the featured back with 724 yards and eight touchdowns on 125 carries.

We simulated the Tide and Bulldogs 101 times and it's Alabama rolling over 76 percent of the time by an average score of 28-18.

College Football Week 9
Matchup Win% Avg Score  
Duke Blue Devils 29.2 23 Boxscore
@ Florida State Seminoles 70.8 29  
North Carolina State Wolfpack 49.5 24 Boxscore
@ North Carolina Tar Heels 50.5 25  
Brigham Young Cougars 50.5 26 Boxscore
@ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 49.5 25  
Maryland Terrapins 60.4 26 Boxscore
@ Boston College Eagles 39.6 22  
Clemson Tigers 63.4 28 Boxscore
@ Wake Forest Demon Deacons 36.6 22  
Kent State Golden Flashes 22.8 15 Boxscore
@ Rutgers Scarlet Knights 77.2 25  
Temple Owls 44.6 23 Boxscore
@ Pittsburgh Panthers 55.4 25  
Syracuse Orange 44.1 24 Boxscore
@ South Florida Bulls 55.9 27  
Cincinnati Bearcats 47.0 22 Boxscore
@ Louisville Cardinals 53.0 23  
Iowa Hawkeyes 36.6 23 Boxscore
@ Northwestern Wildcats 63.4 27  
Michigan State Spartans 49.5 23 Boxscore
@ Wisconsin Badgers 50.5 24  
Indiana Hoosiers 55.0 23 Boxscore
@ Illinois Fighting Illini 45.0 21  
Michigan Wolverines 58.4 25 Boxscore
@ Nebraska Cornhuskers 41.6 24  
Purdue Boilermakers 59.4 25 Boxscore
@ Minnesota Golden Gophers 40.6 20  
Ohio State Buckeyes 63.4 24 Boxscore
@ Penn State Nittany Lions 36.6 19  
Akron Zips 29.7 20 Boxscore
@ Central Michigan Chippewas 70.3 28  
Eastern Michigan Eagles 35.1 19 Boxscore
@ Bowling Green Falcons 64.9 23  
Northern Illinois Huskies 56.4 26 Boxscore
@ Western Michigan Broncos 43.6 25  
Ohio Bobcats 66.8 27 Boxscore
@ Miami (OH) RedHawks 33.2 21  
Toledo Rockets 76.2 30 Boxscore
@ Buffalo Bulls 23.8 19  
Colorado Buffaloes 7.9 17 Boxscore
@ Oregon Ducks 92.1 33  
Washington State Cougars 42.1 22 Boxscore
@ Stanford Cardinal 57.9 26  
UCLA Bruins 47.5 23 Boxscore
@ Arizona State Sun Devils 52.5 24  
California Golden Bears 59.4 24 Boxscore
@ Utah Utes 40.6 20  
Oregon State Beavers 70.3 26 Boxscore
@ Washington Huskies 29.7 20  
USC Trojans 83.2 35 Boxscore
@ Arizona Wildcats 16.8 24  
Massachusetts Minutemen 12.9 12 Boxscore
@ Vanderbilt Commodores 87.1 29  
Mississippi State Bulldogs 23.8 18 Boxscore
@ Alabama Crimson Tide 76.2 28  
Kentucky Wildcats 30.2 15 Boxscore
@ Missouri Tigers 69.8 20  
Tennessee Volunteers 45.5 19 Boxscore
@ South Carolina Gamecocks 54.5 21  
Mississippi Rebels 46.5 22 Boxscore
@ Arkansas Razorbacks 53.5 25  
Florida Gators 51.5 21 Boxscore
vs. Georgia Bulldogs 48.5 19  
Texas A&M Aggies 72.8 26 Boxscore
@ Auburn Tigers 27.2 17  
Texas State Bobcats 18.8 22 Boxscore
@ San Jose State Spartans 81.2 30  
Utah State Aggies 81.2 33 Boxscore
@ Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners 18.8 21  
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 84.2 37 Boxscore
@ New Mexico State Aggies 15.8 21  
Ball State Cardinals 66.3 29 Boxscore
@ Army Black Knights 33.7 23  
TCU Horned Frogs 28.7 22 Boxscore
@ Oklahoma State Cowboys 71.3 28  
Texas Tech Red Raiders 35.1 24 Boxscore
@ Kansas State Wildcats 64.9 28  
Baylor Bears 43.6 23 Boxscore
@ Iowa State Cyclones 56.4 24  
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 44.1 25 Boxscore
@ Oklahoma Sooners 55.9 27  
Texas Longhorns 87.1 31 Boxscore
@ Kansas Jayhawks 12.9 19  
Memphis Tigers 25.7 24 Boxscore
@ Southern Methodist Mustangs 74.3 31  
UTEP Miners 39.6 24 Boxscore
@ Houston Cougars 60.4 28  
Navy Midshipmen 42.6 24 Boxscore
@ East Carolina Pirates 57.4 25  
Southern Miss Golden Eagles 47.5 23 Boxscore
@ Rice Owls 52.5 24  
UCF Knights 50.5 27 Boxscore
@ Marshall Thundering Herd 49.5 26  
UAB Blazers 53.0 25 Boxscore
@ Tulane Green Wave 47.0 24  
UNLV Rebels 25.7 20 Boxscore
@ San Diego State Aztecs 74.3 30  
Hawaii Warriors 35.1 17 Boxscore
@ Colorado State Rams 64.9 22  
Nevada Wolf Pack 64.4 28 Boxscore
@ Air Force Falcons 35.6 23  
Fresno State Bulldogs 79.2 31 Boxscore
@ New Mexico Lobos 20.8 20  
Boise State Broncos 79.2 30 Boxscore
@ Wyoming Cowboys 20.8 19  
South Alabama Jaguars 22.8 18 Boxscore
@ Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 77.2 28  
Arkansas State Red Wolves 42.1 26 Boxscore
@ Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns 57.9 28  
North Texas Mean Green 44.1 25 Boxscore
@ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 55.9 28  
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 61.9 26 Boxscore
@ FIU Golden Panthers 38.1 24  
Troy Trojans 73.3 30 Boxscore
@ Florida Atlantic Owls 26.7 21  

Each Monday, WhatIfSports.com's NCAA college football simulation engine will provide you with game predictions for every D-1 FBS game that upcoming week. The college football simulation engine generates detailed information for each game including each team's chances of winning (Win%) and the average points scored for both teams. Make sure to share the college football information you gained here with your friends by either checking out our NCAA football widgets on the WhatIf To Go page or clicking on the social networking share bar at the top and bottom of this article.

Check out our 2012 College Football Season-to-Date page to follow our accuracy and for Upsets of the Week.

The statistical inputs to the thousands of college football simulations are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth charts and statistically based player rankings. Roster modifications are made in cases of injury or suspension and those players are removed from their team's game simulation for that week.

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