Two gurus of the spread offense will square off Saturday night in prime time, as Dan Mullen leads his Mississippi State Bulldogs into Jordan-Hare Stadium to face first-year head coach Gus Malzahn and his Auburn Tigers.
Between them, the two coaches hold three national championship rings as offensive coordinators, with Mullen earning two at Florida in 2006 and 2008, and Malzahn winning his most recently in 2010. Saturday night, both coaches' record-breaking offense will be on display in the latest chapter of what has become a heated rivalry in recent years.
The rivalry was rekindled in 2009 when Mullen faced off against Gene Chizik and Malzahn in each of their first seasons rebuilding their respective programs, and only intensified in 2010, when allegations arose that Mississippi State alum Kenny Rogers spoke with Cam Newton's father and two Mississippi State boosters in an attempt to broker a pay-for-play deal.
Since then, there's been bad blood between these two programs, and the divisional rivalry between them has become that much more heated.
The Bulldogs captured their first win against Auburn under Mullen last season, but the Tigers were 3-0 against Mississippi State from 2009 to 2011 with Malzahn on Auburn's sideline as offensive coordinator.
With Malzahn back in the fold once again, all eyes will be on the two offensive masterminds on opposing sidelines in their first head-to-head matchup as head coaches.
First, the basics:
Time: 6 p.m. CT
Place: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.
Radio: Auburn IMG Sports Network, Mississippi State Bulldog Sports Network
Spread: Auburn -6, via Vegas Insider consensus.