Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen likes challenges and he's about to see one from No. 3 Alabama.
The Crimson Tide rolls into Starkville this weekend after suffering their first loss for a Southeastern Conference Western division battle with the Bulldogs, who have won their last two games.
The challenges of playing against the third-ranked team in the country is obvious, and Mullen seems happy for the Tide to come to town.
"Obviously, we're excited about this game," said Mullen. "It's a great opportunity for our guys, playing one of the top teams in the nation and one of the great programs in college football."
Playing against ranked teams isn't anything new for Mullen and his Bulldogs this season as they have played numerous top 25 opponents, including No. 1 LSU in Starkville during week three, but the next two weeks is possibly the most challenging back-to-back games this season.
"The next two weeks we play top 10 ranked teams," said Mullen. "If you look at our schedule, there at six teams that are ranked in the top 20, so our guys love those challenges and they love playing those big games."
Alabama is a very hyped team as they are coming off that overtime loss in the "game of the century" last week that was hyped for two weeks as the greatest regular season college football matchup in the history of the game. There are many people who think the Crimson Tide is over-hyped, but Mullen is not one of them.
"I think Alabama deserved all the hype they've gotten this year because they are a very good football team," said Mullen.
Anytime a programs plays a highly ranked opponent, there is a chance for an upset, but playing that game on the underdog's home field makes the upset a bit more possible. With MSU selling out every game for the past two seasons, even though the majority left early during last week's game, Mullen expects it to be loud at Davis Wade Stadium Saturday night.
"We expect a huge home crowd," said Mullen. "We need everybody in the state of Mississippi there making as much noise as they can to give us that home field advantage and give us every edge we possible can get to put us in position to win the game."
The Bulldogs are trying to go for the upset over Alabama just like they did against LSU earlier this season. and just like the LSU game it is nationally broadcast on ESPN. Kickoff is set for 6:45 p.m.