#3 Alabama vs. #20 Miss. State: Lock 'Under' 51.5 as the College Football Pick

Willie Bee

Friday, November 13, 2015 3:19 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 13, 2015 3:19 PM UTC

Following a big win over LSU a week ago, the Alabama Crimson Tide go on the road as college football favorites and face a tough Mississippi State squad. Check our college football pick inside.

How much of a hangover should we expect from Alabama following its huge win over the LSU Tigers a week ago. Can Dak Prescott and the Mississippi State Bulldogs crack through a tough Crimson Tide defense? We'll try and answer those questions and more in this preview of their Week 11 matchup in the Magnolia State.

CBS will carry the game beginning at 3:30 PM (ET), another capacity crowd of  cowbell-ringing fanatics expected to fill Davis Wade Stadium. The Greek sent this one out with Alabama laying a touchdown on the road, but now has the Tide -8 while a few sports books are posting -7½. A quick check of SBR's live college football odds shows a range from 50½ to 51½.

Saturday marks the 99th time these two schools have collided on a gridiron, the series dating to 1902, and it the Bulldogs have been Alabama's whipping post for the most part. The Crimson Tide owns a 77-18-3 record in the rivalry and have won the last seven encounters.

Mississippi State has managed to cover three of the last four as the Bulldogs look for their first victory since a 2007 win as small home pups. The last seven played in Starkville never made it to totals that ranged from 39½ to 55½, but four of MSU's last six home games have hurdled the marks.

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'Bama Defense Continues To Lead The Way
Alabama (8-1 straight up, 4-5 against the spread) managed to do what no team could last week -- stop LSU's Leonard Fournette. The Crimson Tide limited Fournette to 31 yards on 19 carries and a rather meaningless touchdown late in the game after the sophomore entered the game averaging over 190 yards a contest. The 30-16 victory vs. Louisiana State was enough to lift Nick Saban's squad to second in the latest CFP ranking, and set the Tide in position to represent the SEC in the playoffs.

It also pushed Alabama up to third in the nation in total defense (265 ypg) and continued a strong stretch stopping the run since losing to Ole Miss in Week 3. The Crimson Tide have held seven of their nine opponents under 100 yards rushing per game, second-best in the country (75.8 ypg).

While they were stopping the run, the Tide offense was churning out the yards on the ground, 250 to be exact. Derrick Henry had all but 40 of those yards on 38 carries, three of the totes crossing the goal line. That came against an LSU defense that was also holding opponents to under 100 yards per game on the ground; Alabama will be facing an MSU defense this week that ranks 68th in the country in that column (167.7 ypg).


Will Prescott Have To Do It On His Own?
Though its hopes to appear in the playoffs have been dashed, Mississippi State (7-2 SU, 6-3 ATS) also moved up a few spots in the latest CFP rankings to 17th following a fourth consecutive victory. The 31-13 triumph at Mizzou came as 7 point road favorites, the third straight cover for the Bulldogs.

It was also Prescott's third game in a row with more than 300 passing yards, the senior tossing a season-high four scoring strikes among his 40 attempts. That gives Prescott 18 TD passes on the season, against one lone interception. His O-line has protected him pretty well, just 13 sacks, but this will be a much stronger defensive front on the Alabama side than what Missouri had...or Kentucky the week before, La Tech and Troy the games before then.

You have to go back to Week 2 to find the last time MSU faced a defense as tough as the Tide's, and that came against LSU. The Tigers held the Bulldogs to a season-low 43 yards rushing and sacked Prescott three times.

It should be a crisp and clear autumn afternoon in Starkville, the thermometer climbing into the upper-50s and no chance of rain. I also don't see any chance of an Alabama letdown, and will ride the 'under' trend in this series for my free college football pick.

College Football Pick: Under 51½ at Bookmaker

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