Preview: Alabama & other Top 25 games

AP: No. 3 Alabama (9-0) at Mississippi State (4-5), 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Alabama by 12.

Series Record: Alabama leads 72-18-3.

Last meeting: 2008, Alabama 32-7.

What’s at Stake

Postseason positioning. The Crimson Tide has already clinched a spot in the SEC title game against Florida, but can’t relax. And the Bulldogs need two wins in their last three games to make a bowl in Dan Mullen’s first season.

Key Matchup

Mississippi State RB Anthony Dixon vs. Alabama MLB Rolando McClain. Two of the biggest, most athletic players at their position will face off over the line of scrimmage. McClain, the driving force of one of the nation’s best defenses, must stop Dixon, who rushed for 252 yards last week, for the Tide to roll.

Players to Watch

Alabama: RB Mark Ingram. Mississippi State’s defense has been stingy at times, but will face its biggest test of the season against Ingram, a definite Heisman Trophy contender.

Mississippi State: QB Tyson Lee. Lee must decode Alabama’s man-on-man coverage if he’s going to take the pressure off Dixon and add a much-needed dimension to the Bulldogs’ offense.

Facts & Figures

Mississippi State has won two of the last three matchups. … The Bulldogs lead the nation in interceptions returned for a touchdown (four) and have six non-offensive touchdowns. … Mississippi State is winless in its last nine games against ranked opponents. … The Alabama defense is fourth nationally, allowing 242.2 yards per game.