Larry Burton (Syndicated Writer) Before you look at Mississippi State's woefully underachieving season so far and write this game off as an easy win, let me remind you that this is also the team that played LSU to a 19-6 loss.
But that was a 9-6 game going into the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs managed the same number of points against LSU as Alabama made.
So this game certainly has the possibility of being a good one. So look for the following:
Lots of Defense
Yes, this could be yet another defensive struggle. LSU certainly couldn't push these Bulldogs around on offense and the going could be tough for Alabama.
However, look for Alabama to try and make a statement here and hold MSU to six or less points to prove that they can equal what LSU did against this same team.
Alabama Will Open Up the Offense
Look for Alabama to open up the offense. Last week McCarron started the game on fire going 7-for-7 for his first seven throws.
Now Alabama will certainly not abandon the running game, but they will open up the passing game too, and A.J. McCarron will try and stretch the field with a few throws.
The Tide wants the Alabama nation to see that they aren't holding their heads down after the LSU loss. In past games, they've opened slowly, so look for them to start running the Dogs out of the stadium after the opening whistle.
Look for players pumping one another up during the game and taking each play like it was the most important of the game.
It's not going to be an easy day for the Bulldogs players. The Tide feels like they have something to prove and they're going to prove it on these boys from Mississippi State.
Look for at least four to five Bulldogs to be limping back to the sidelines.
A Return of Eddie Lacy
Turf toe doesn't sound like a big injury, but running backs who have gone through this know how tough it is and how long it takes to get over it. The toe swells to an abnormal size and causes pain and balance issues when cutting.
Lacy was only marginally used last weekend, leaving Richardson to literally carry the load.
He's finally over the worst of it and should be a pain in the Bulldogs' butt this weekend.
Beating the Spread
Alabama will want to make a statement in this game. LSU beat them by 13 points and Las Vegas had the Tide as an 18.5-point favorite early on.
Alabama will not only want to beat the spread to prove they're not having trouble to get over the LSU loss, but they will want to beat the Bulldogs much worse than LSU did to prove a point.
Seeing if they can do that should be an interesting sidebar to the game.
It won't be a good day to be a Mississippi State Bulldog. As if it wasn't bad enough for them to play Alabama late in the season, now they face them with a very big chip on their shoulders.