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At heraldic crossroads in Alabama, Ole Miss sets a perfect record to LSU

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Alabama coach Nick Saban has a history on his side against Mississippi State, but it’s also been a matter of his coaching abilities.

Saban hasn’t lost back-to-back regular-season games since his first season on the Tide in 2007, or two consecutive losses since losing the Iron Bowl in 2013 and then the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma.

Mississippi State will challenge that line at 7 p.m. Saturday in an ESPN game as a 21-point underdog.

It’s the Alabama team that led the nation in penalty numbers after hoisting 17 flags in their 52-49 loss to Tennessee last Saturday.

Saban stood idly by as the tide mismanaged the clock at the last minute, allowing the Vols to retrieve the ball and drive for the winning score.

Has Saban loosened his control and control over the program enough to be the beginning of the end of his dominance in the YSK?

Former Saban national championship defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt gave some insight into what’s going on behind the great Red Wall this week.

“You need to go back and fix the mistakes you made, and Alabama made a ton of mistakes in that game,” Pruitt said.

“One thing, I know Coach Saban, he’s not going to look in the rearview mirror. He’s going to be positive towards his coaching staff and positive towards his team because when you have college football playoffs, Alabama still controls his own destiny, so the season is ahead.

“They better get ready for a good Mississippi State team this week.”

The Maroon Bulldogs saw their three-game winning streak trail 27-17 in Kentucky and are now fighting for survival in the West Division race.

“It’s about the coaching thing,[Saban]has done an excellent job of getting the 18 to 22-year-olds here to move and move on to the next game,” Pruitt said. “This is going to be very important to them this week.”

Alabama enters the game as the nation’s most penalized team (66 flags).

Election: Alabama 41, Mississippi State 14

Ole Miss (-2.5) at LSU (3:30 pm, CBS)

The Rebels currently lead the SEC West Division and are among FBS’ nine undefeated teams.

The Bayou Bengals come from a resounding road win in Florida that saw Brian Kelly take Billy Napier to school in a first-class coaches battle.

Auburn rushed over 300 yards at Oxford’s Ole Miss, a good sign for an LSU team that will play its first home game since being embarrassed by Tennessee two weeks ago.

Selection: LSU 27, Ole Miss 26

in Vanderbilt, Missouri -14 (4:00 PM, SEC Network)

The Commodores play with three back-to-back Top 10 teams, most recently leaving Georgia a 55-0 decision.

Missouri says goodbye to Auburn, Georgia and Florida, who are hungry for their first SEC win, a week after dropping three.

Selection: Missouri 34, Vanderbilt 19

UT-Martin, Tennessee at -37.5 (Noon, SEC Network)

The Vols are still celebrating their Alabama win (Yes, really) and UT-Martin is the next team to be smashed by Josh Heupel’s fast break.

Tennessee will rest some players, but not at the expense of accumulating points and improving stats to maintain the #1 overall offensive.

Selection: Tennessee 63, UT-Martin 13

Texas A&M -3.5 in South Carolina (19:30, SEC Network)

The Gamecocks have never been able to beat the Aggies—designated cross-SEC West rival—in eight meetings of the programs stretching back to 2014.

That has to change at some point, right?

Selection: South Carolina 24, Texas A&M 21

Season: 42-15 straight, 26-29 vs.

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