Alabama-Miss. State: Croom Seeks Third Straight Win in "Battle for Highway 82"

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent INovember 13, 2008

Sylvester Croom will load up his Mississippi State Bulldogs this weekend and make the 88-mile bus ride straight to Tuscaloosa on old U.S. 82.

The Bulldogs have won two straight over the Tide in what many Alabama students have come to call "The Battle of Highway 82," which runs through both schools' campuses.

The series has been one of the most lopsided in the Southeastern Conference despite being one of the longest running. In 93 games since the first in 1896, Alabama has won 72 of those matches, the most wins any team has against Mississippi State.

As of late, though, the series has not been so dominant. Sylvester Croom mustered up a win in 2006, the last time the Bulldogs visited Bryant-Denny Stadium, which led to the firing of Mike Shula.

Last year MSU came up with a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown at the end of the first half. The Crimson Tide never recovered mentally, and Mississippi State pulled out a 17-12 victory in Starkville.

Add on to all of this the fact that Alabama has not scored a touchdown on Mississippi State since 2005. All 12 points from last year came on Leigh Tiffin field goals.

This year things are a bit different though. Alabama is unbelievably ranked No. 1 in the nation, and the Tide has the Florida Gators waiting for them in Atlanta in what is starting to look like a play-in game for the National Championship.

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MSU, on the other hand, has had a rather disappointing season after last year's success. Two one-point losses to SEC opponents have really put a damper on the team's 3-6 season.

Will Nick Saban have his top-ranked Tide focused in on "the process," or will Sylvester Croom catch Alabama looking ahead to the Gators?

We will find out on Saturday, but one thing is for sure...there will be a lot of people driving west on Highway 82 late Saturday night. They'll either have a sweet 88-mile victory drive or a good hour to soak in another loss in what has become an embarrassing season.

Mississippi State at Alabama is scheduled to kick off at 6:45pm Saturday night. The game will be televised by ESPN.


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