How Alabama responds to Tennessee loss will be its biggest statement yet

Alabama has to bounce back vs. Mississippi State at home after losing to Tennessee last week.

With no room for error, Alabama is left with no choice in Week 8: They have to beat Mississippi State at home after falling on the road last week to Tennessee on the Third Saturday in October.

Although the Crimson Tide are 6-1 on the season and the No. 6 team in the land, a second loss in SEC play not only knocks them out of the College Football Playoff picture, but probably prevents them from getting to Atlanta as a division winner. While Mississippi State has two losses on the year, Mike Leach’s team knows how to raid some air and has what it takes for a possible upset bid.

How the Crimson Tide respond vs. the Bulldogs after losing last week at the Volunteers will tell us everything we need to know about this year’s team.

Alabama has to play up to its standard vs. divisional foe Mississippi State

Although Alabama has won 14 straight in the 90 Mile Drive, the Crimson Tide just suffered its first loss to rival Tennessee in 16 years last week. They nearly suffered their first loss to Arkansas since the Houston Nutt era a few weeks ago. Alabama also fell to Georgia for the first time since 2007 in the national championship. We are starting to see a very bad trend here with the Crimson Tide…

Even though Alabama gets Mississippi State at home, this a ranked opponent and a high-octane offense walking into Death Valley. We all know that Pete Golding’s Crimson Tide defense will give up points. If they get into a shootout vs. Mississippi State, that could be a recipe for disaster for the entire Yellowhammer State, outside of Auburn, of course. Here is why this game is so critical.

A win over the Bulldogs stops the bleeding a bit, as well as gives Alabama the necessary confidence to attempt to navigate the rest of its challenging schedule. Although they will have a bye before the LSU game, that game is in Death Valley and it will be the Bayou Bengals’ Super Bowl in Brian Kelly’s first year at the helm. After that, Alabama must face Ole Miss and Auburn…

Like cross-divisional rival Tennessee, Ole Miss has not lost a game yet. The Rebels are ranked No. 7 in the land. With that game at Vaught-Hemingway, that could be another recipe for disaster for Alabama. Nick Saban has had his issues historically playing in Oxford at Alabama. While the Iron Bowl is in Tuscaloosa, it is still the Iron Bowl, as anything and everything can happen in that game.

Should Alabama win its final five regular-season games to get to 11-1 (7-1), the Crimson Tide will still have to face either Georgia or Tennessee in a rematch in Atlanta. As was the case last year, Alabama would have to win that game to have any shot of making the College Football Playoff. Either way, Alabama will have to beat at least three ranked teams to make the four-team field.

Again, how Alabama fares vs. Mississippi State on Saturday will tell us everything about them.

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