Kickoff: Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Spread: Alabama by 24
Watchability: Will Alabama finally get tested? The Tide have won every game by at least 19 points, lead the nation in scoring defense (8.3) and are laying more than three touchdowns to an undefeated SEC team. This is a watershed moment for the Bulldogs, who have risen fast in four years under Dan Mullen. “Our guys have been through a lot and we have some good leadership on this team,” he said. “I feel like they'll be ready for the environment we're going to head into on Saturday night.” Mullen said his players expected to be undefeated coming into this game. If they're still undefeated afterward, they'll have pulled off the biggest win in school history.
Shining stars: Mississippi State -- QB Tyler Russell. The junior is one of three QBs, along with Alabama's AJ McCarron, with at least 15 TD passes and one or zero interceptions. In three SEC games, Russell has completed 63 percent of his throws for 782 yards and seven TDs with no INTs. He's on pace to break single-season school records in every passing category. Alabama -- McCarron. He's thrown 249 passes without an interception and is completing nearly 69 percent of his throws. Over the last three games, McCarron and freshman WR Amari Cooper hooked up 19 times for 287 yards and four scores.
Who could steal the show: Mississippi State -- DB Johnthan Banks. The senior gave Bulldogs fans a scare when he went down with a knee injury after an interception last week. But the SEC's top cover corner says he's fine. With his next pick, he'll pass Walt Harris' school record of 16 career INTs. Alabama -- T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy. The RB duo ripped Tennessee for 208 yards in last week's 44-13 win. Running behind the nation's top offensive line, Yeldon (6.8 ypc) and Lacy (5.8 ypc) have been unstoppable, combining for 13 rushing TDs.
You going? Ranking the road trip: More than 100,000 fans will fill Bryant-Denny Stadium for this night game, making it an electric atmosphere. Tide faithful are itching to see their team beat a highly-ranked opponent. Previous home games were against Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic and Ole Miss.
Magic number for Mississippi State: 6. Russell has been sacked just six times this season, which is tied for 14th nationally. His clean pocket has enabled Russell to choose from an array of targets including Chad Bumphis (6 TDs) and Chris Smith.
Magic number for Alabama: 5. Since Nick Saban's arrival, Alabama has allowed just five rushers to eclipse 100 yards in a game. Mississippi State's LaDarius Perkins leads the SEC with 103.6 rushing yards per game.
The game comes down to: The Bulldogs must win the turnover battle to keep it close. Mississippi State leads the nation with a plus-17 margin, while Alabama ranks third with a plus-14 margin.
Eye on College Football's take: AJ McCarron's 16-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio is nice and all, but he has to throw an interception sometime, doesn't he? You would think if there was any week where he would, it would be this one, against the sticky-fingered Johnthan Banks and a State secondary ranked 12th in the nation in opponent's quarterback rating. And if McCarron does finally make a major mistake -- and if that's compounded by a special teams error here, a fumble there -- this could become an actual competitive football game involving the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Bulldogs' defense is stout enough and their offense steady enough to make it a fourth-quarter coinflip if they get some help from the Tide. But if they don't? Forget it: this is still the same Alabama team that's No. 1 in the nation in yards per-play allowed and No. 1 in yards per-play gained. A good game from the Bulldogs will keep it close for a half, maybe more; only a particularly bad game from the Tide will make it more than that. -- Jerry Hinnen
Prediction: Alabama 27, Mississippi State 17
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from SEC bloggers Daniel Lewis and Larry Hartstein, follow @CBSSportsSEC.