TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Nick Saban and Alabama have seemingly mastered the art of big games, but that atmosphere is still fairly new to Mississippi State.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide hosts the 13th-ranked Bulldogs Saturday night in a matchup of unbeaten SEC West teams. The winner gains the inside track for the division title, though both must play No. 6 LSU in the next few weeks.
The Bulldogs are off to their best start since 1999, matching Alabama's 7-0 record. They're 24-point underdogs.
Coach Dan Mullen says they "look at this as a championship-calibre game for us." He says that means handling momentum swings and playing well for four quarters.
Alabama has done that. The Tide has trailed only 15 seconds all season and has gone 19-6 against ranked teams the past four seasons.