Alabama At State Will Be Night Game

As the disappointment of Saturday's 9-6 overtime loss to number one ranked LSU abates, it is the nature of Alabama followers to think ahead to possible ramifications that could put the Crimson Tide back in title contention.

It is very unlikely that Alabama can reach the Southeastern Conference championship game, although Bama remains -- with LSU and Arkansas -- the only SEC Western Division teams with a mathematical chance at that berth.

Any chance the Crimson Tide has begins with Alabama taking care of its own games, beginning Saturday at Mississippi State. Once again, it will be a night game for Alabama. The Crimson Tide (8-1 overall and 5-1 in SEC games) will meet the Bulldogs (5-4, 1-4) at 6:45 p.m. CST with television coverage by ESPN.

Alabama and Mississippi State are close geographically, but the series has been anything but close. The Crimson Tide leads the series by a margin of 73-18-3. Last year Bama took a 30-10 win in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama fell to fourth in this week's Associated Press, Harris, and USA Today Coaches polls and is third in the BCS rankings.

The SEC has six teams ranked in this week's major polls. Three teams are ranked the same in all three polls – LSU is first, Alabama fourth and Arkansas eighth.  South Carolina is 15th in AP and USA Today and 16th in Harris.  Georgia is 14th in AP, 15th in Harris and 16th in USA Today.  Auburn is 24th in Harris and AP and 25th in USA Today.

This marks the seventh week this year that the SEC has had at least six teams ranked in the AP poll.  The SEC has had six teams ranked in the AP poll at least one week every year since 2003.  Since 1992, the SEC has had at least five teams ranked in the AP Top 25 a total of 234 times, an average of 11.7 times per year.

Alabama, LSU and Arkansas are the only teams in the SEC Western Division mathematically eligible to participate in the SEC Championship

LSU controls its own destiny and can reach SEC Championship Game by defeating Ole Miss and Arkansas. Alabama can get to the SEC Championship Game by defeating Mississippi State and Auburn and LSU losing both of its remaining games. Arkansas can reach the SEC Championship Game by defeating Tennessee, Mississippi State, and LSU and having Alabama lose to either Mississippi State or Auburn.

In case of a three-way tie between Alabama, Arkansas and LSU, all with 7-1 marks, and all have one-loss in the three-team subset, the tie-breaker would go to the seventh of the three-team tie-breaker (use of the BCS standings). In this instance, the third team would be eliminated and, if the second team is five spots or less from the top team, head-to-head result would be used to break tie. If top team is more than five spots ahead of second team, it would be the divisional representative in the SEC Championship Game.

South Carolina and Georgia are the only SEC East teams that can reach the SEC title game.

Alabama could end up tied for the West title, but it is unlikely to be five spots ahead of a one-loss LSU team in the BCS standings, so the SEC Championship berth is almost eliminated. There are possibilities for a rematch of Alabama and LSU in the BCS National Championship Game, but it will be a few weeks before that situation is sorted out.

Going into Saturday's LSU-Alabama game, both teams combined for 2.70 points per offensive drive and had scored on 48.7 per cent (touchdown or field goal) of its offensive drives. In the game, both combined for scores on 22.7 per cent of its offensive drives (no TDs, 5 FGs) and averaged 0.68 points per drive.

Alabama continues to be the nation's most dominant defensive team, leading every category. Bama is first in pass defense (giving up 130.67 yards per game), first in rushing defense (56.33 yards per game), obviously first in total defense (187 yards per game), and first in scoring defense (7.11 points per game).

In national individual statistics, Alabama tailback Trent Richardson is fifth in scoring, 10th in rushing, and 13th in all-purpose yardage.

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