Bama, 8-1 overall and 5-1 in Southeastern Conference games, is ranked third in the nation in the Coaches Poll and fourth in the Associated Press rankings this week. Mississippi State is 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the SEC and ranked first in both polls. The College Football Playoff Selection Committee poll will be announced Tuesday night.
Alabama and Mississippi State will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday with CBS televising the game.
Alabama was number one in five previous games against the Bulldogs and has a 4-1 record in those games. The Tide’s all-time record against Mississippi State is 77-17-3.
Bama’s loss to State as the number one team was in Jackson, Miss., in 1980. Alabama had won back-to-back national championships in 1978 and 1979 and had a school record 28-game winning streak when the Tide was upset 6-3.
For all its national championships, Alabama has been ranked on relatively few occasions during regular season play, which accounts for the few meetings as the number one team against State. The only other occasion prior to the Nick Saban Era was in 1979, when Coach Paul Bryant’s last undefeated national championship team took a 24-7 win in Tuscaloosa.
Saban’s Alabama teams are 3-0 as number one teams playing Mississippi State, including 2-0 in Tuscaloosa. The 2008 Bama took a 32-7 decision in Bryant-Denny Stadium; in a 2012 national championship season, Alabama won 38=7 over 11th ranked State; and last year in Starkville number one Alabama was a 20-7 winner.
Alabama’s most recent games against the number one team have come in BCS National Championship Games. The Tide’s overall record in games against the number one team is 6-4. (Alabama’s record as the number one team is 49-9.)
Alabama last played number one Notre Dame in the BCS title game in Miami at the end of the 2012 season with the Tide taking the championship with a 42-14 romp. The previous year, at the end of the 2011 season against number one LSU in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Bama won the crown with a 21-0 win over the Tigers. Earlier in the season Alabama had lost to number one LSU in Tuscaloosa, 9-6 in overtime.
Saban’s other experience against the nation’s number one team was in the SEC Championship Game against Florida in 2009 with Alabama winning 32-13 before going on to win the national championship.
Other Alabama games against the number one team include:
Losing to Auburn, 40-0, in 1957 (which brought a change in coaches, Bryant to Bama); losing to Nebraska, 38-6, in the Orange Bowl at the end of the 1971 season; defeating Southern Cal, 21-10, in Los Angeles in 1977; defeating Penn State, 14-7, in the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 1978 season to win the national championship; defeating Miami, 34-13, in the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 1992 season to win the national championship; losing to Oklahoma, 20-13, in Tuscaloosa in 2003.