If Alabama-Ole Miss is the main SEC West event of the weekend, Texas A&M's trip to Starkville is one heck of an undercard. The undefeated Aggies face the similarly undefeated Mississippi State Bulldogs Saturday afternoon, with kickoff set for noon ET and television coverage on ESPN.
If Texas A&M was going to take a step back after losing former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and NFL Draft top-10 picks Mike Evans and Jake Matthews, the team has a strange way of showing it. The Aggies opened the season by blowing out South Carolina and have barely stopped since. All looked lost last weekend against Arkansas before a furious fourth-quarter comeback tied the game and led to an overtime victory. Quarterback Kenny Hill already has 1,745 passing yards and 17 touchdowns this season, single-handedly outgaining all but three FBS teams through the air.
Mississippi State staked its claim to the SEC West throne with a shocking win at LSU two weeks ago. The Bulldogs, 4-0 for just the second time since the turn of the century, have averaged more than 41 points and 537 yards per game on offense. Quarterback Dak Prescott has racked up 1,342 yards of total offense and 14 touchdowns through four games, including 378 rushing yards on more than 6 yards per carry. He's joined in the backfield by Josh Robinson, who has run for 121 yards per game. Receivers Jameon Lewis and De'Runnya Wilson give Prescott weapons on the outside.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game time: Noon ET
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Rankings and records: Both teams are undefeated, with A&M at 5-0 and Mississippi State, coming off a bye week, at 4-0. The Aggies are ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll and No. 7 by the coaches, while Mississippi State is 12th and 14th.
Vegas: Mississippi State is a 2.5-point favorite, with an over/under at 69 points.
Weather forecast: It's going to be perfect: Sunny, with a kickoff temperature around 62 degrees.
Two things at stake
The SEC West pole position, for one. With LSU already holding a loss and facing Auburn Saturday night, Arkansas still a year away and Alabama facing Ole Miss in Oxford Saturday afternoon, the winner of this game will share the early SEC West lead with the rest of Saturday's winners. It's America's toughest division, and there is still a long way to go, but the eliminations begin early in a race for the SEC West title and a playoff spot.
The winner will also certainly get a top-five position in the polls, at least for a week; A&M hosts Ole Miss next weekend, while Mississippi State gets a visit from Auburn. Because it's the SEC West.
One big matchup
Mississippi State offensive line vs. Texas A&M front seven: This game is a true contrast in styles. Texas A&M has one of the nation's top passing attacks, while Mississippi State generally prefers to keep it on the ground. Mississippi State's defense is geared to stop the run, while the Aggies are at least competent against the run. But with Mississippi State ranked 121st nationally in pass defense, the Bulldogs are going to have to score in bunches and keep the Aggies' offense off the field to have a chance. And if Mississippi State can't run on Texas A&M's run defense, ranked 67th nationally and allowing 156 yards per game so far, it's hard to find where the points will come from.