History Says Tide Wins At Starkville

There is a school of thought that the home field matters in the result of college football games. Another school of thought – one which we happen to subscribe to – is that it is much more an advantage to have the better football team than to have the home field.

Alabama is on the road this week, though not very far. It is only, perhaps, 80 miles from Bryant-Denny Stadium to Scott Field in Starkville, where the Crimson Tide will take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a Southeastern Conference game. Regardless of where this game has been played over the years, the result has been a Bama victory much more often than not. And the teams have played a lot of times. This will be the 98th meeting. Alabama has 76 on-whatever-the-field and Mississippi State has 18. Three games ended in ties.

Alabama has won five consecutive games, including by 38-7 last year in Tuscaloosa. As for this game being on the road? The Crimson Tide has won 17 consecutive games away from Tuscaloosa, which is best in major college football. Bama's last road loss was in 2010 at LSU. The longest such streak in Alabama history is 19 games away from home, set from Sept. 24, 1977, until Nov. 1, 1980, when Mississippi State snapped the streak.

The Bulldogs have seen number one ranked Alabama teams in the past. One of the biggest wins in Mississippi State history has to be the 6-3 win over Coach Paul Bryant's Crimson Tide in Jackson in 1980. Alabama was coming off back-to-back national championships and was undefeated and ranked first in the nation and had a school (and SEC) record 28 consecutive wins when State pulled the upset.

Alabama is 9-0 overall and 6-0 in SEC games and has its sights set on the opportunity to win a third consecutive national championship. Bama is ranked first in the nation. Mississippi Stte is 4-5 overall and 1-4 in the conference and odds are against the Bulldogs becoming bowl eligible.

Saturday's game will kick off at 6:45 p.m. CST and will be televised by ESPN.

Mississippi State has played six games against the nation's top-ranked team prior to Saturday's contest. The Bulldogs are 1-5 in those games. Five of the confrontations against number one were against the Crimson Tide and the other – in 2009 – was against Florida. And State lost to Alabama that year, too, when the Tide was just a few games from being number one.

Bama has won 16 of 20 previous games played in Starkville.

This is the seventh consecutive year that Alabama has been ranked when playing Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have lost 14 consecutive games to ranked opponents.

Although Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen has only a 33-27 head coaching record in this his fifth year at Mississippi State, that's good enough for fourth best in Bulldogs history insofar as number of wins. Jackie Sherrill, who played at Alabama, has the most wins with an all-time record of 75-75-2.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban's first Alabama team in 2007 lost to Mississippi State by 17-12 in Starkville. Bama's five teams since then have won by 32-7 in 2008, by 31-3 in 2009, by 30-10 in 2010, by 24-7 in 2011, and by 38-7 last year.

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