For Alabama No. 1 in the polls, but No. 2 in the College Football Playoff selection committee rankings -- this week will be an adjustment.
The Crimson Tide is coming off a physical 24-10 win over LSU. The Tigers field a power-run offense, which takes a toll on defenders.
Now, the Crimson Tide must turn its attention to Mississippi State, a physical team that also prefers to spread defenses out.
Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC) and Mississippi State (7-2, 3-2) are set to meet Saturday night inside Davis-Wade Stadium.
On the opposite side, Mississippi State is faced with preparing for one of the top teams in the country. Alabama has won 37 of its past 39 games since the start of the 2015 season.
Mississippi State has lost its nine matchups against Alabama.
"Great challenge for our guys this week," Mullen said. "Obviously, playing the best team in the country. A team that's really been the dominant program in all of college football over the last 10 years. Not everyone gets to play them, but we get to play them every year. We know them well."
He's accounted for 25 total touchdowns on the year. His 12 rushing touchdowns are tied for second in the SEC.
"They have a lot of quarterback runs, so basically you're playing against 'wildcat' at every snap," Saban said.
"But because it's a quarterback and he has a great ability to throw, that's something you have to take into consideration and make sure you can defend their passing game as well. Then when they do pass, his ability to scramble and run also creates problems for the defense.
"Any of these guys that are athletic enough to make plays with their feet, can execute quarterback runs and do it with a level of toughness that is equal to a running back, and then they have the pocket passing to go out there and make plays in the passing game, I think those guys create lots of problems for everybody on defense, not just linebackers."
Alabama ranks among the top teams in the SEC in nearly every statistical category. Mullen hasn't noticed a drop-off in the Crimson Tide's defense, which will be without two linebackers who were injured last week -- Shaun Dion Hamilton and Mack Wilson. Moreover, star defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick was bothered by a hamstring injury last Saturday but was moving well in practice Tuesday.
"They got one of the top defenses, if not the best defense in the country," Mullen said. "They come at you with a lot of depth and rotate a lot of guys through. They have really big, physically-style guys up front. They're very disciplined and fundamentally sound. They have great tackling linebackers. They also have guys that can cover you throughout the entire secondary."
The teams are currently on different paths. Alabama is back in the hunt to make the College Football Playoff for the fourth consecutive year. The Crimson Tide also has the inside track to win the SEC championship for the fourth straight year.
Mississippi State likely can't win the SEC Western Division, but a win over the Crimson Tide could put the Bulldogs in a great position to make a New Year's Six Bowl at the end of the year.
"This is all-around a really good team and a really challenging place to play and our players need to be ready to respond to it the right way," Saban said.
VDB Free Betting Prediction: Alabama 45, Mississippi State 21
Alabama Crimson Tide vs Mississippi State Bulldogs VDB Sport Betting Odds and Matchup Report
Alabama Crimson Tide vs Mississippi State Bulldogs VDB Betting Odds
|Alabama Crimson Tide||-14 (-105)||-550||52 (-115)o|
|Mississippi State Bulldogs||+14 (-115)||+375||52 (-105)u|
|Name||Record||Home||Away||ATS||ATS Home||ATS Away||Offense||Defense||Diff|
|Name||Record||Home||Away||ATS||ATS Home||ATS Away||Offense||Defense||Diff|
Betting Odds Trends
|Alabama is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games|
|Alabama is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games on the road|
|Alabama is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road|
|The total has gone OVER in 6 of Alabama's last 8 games on the road|
|Alabama is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games when playing Mississippi State|
|Alabama is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Mississippi State|
|The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Alabama's last 10 games when playing Mississippi State|
|Alabama is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing on the road against Mississippi State|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Alabama's last 5 games when playing on the road against Mississippi State|
|Mississippi State is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games|
|Mississippi State is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Mississippi State's last 7 games|
|Mississippi State is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home|
|Mississippi State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Mississippi State's last 6 games at home|
|Mississippi State is 3-6 ATS in its last 9 games when playing Alabama|
|Mississippi State is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing Alabama|
|The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Mississippi State's last 10 games when playing Alabama|
|Mississippi State is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games when playing at home against Alabama|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Mississippi State's last 5 games when playing at home against Alabama|
|Jonah Williams||OL||Ques Sat - Undisclosed - 11/8/17||Williams is dealing with an unspecified injury, leaving his availability against Mississippi State on Saturday foggy.|
|Minkah Fitzpatrick||DB||Ques Sat - Hamstring - 11/6/17||Fitzpatrick is nursing a hamstring injury and it is unclear if he will play Saturday against Mississippi State.|
|Mack Wilson||LB||Mid Dec - Foot - 11/6/17||Wilson is expected to miss four-to-six weeks due to an injured foot.|
|Shaun Dion Hamilton||LB||out for season - Knee - 11/5/17||Hamilton suffered a fractured kneecap and is likely to miss the remainder of the season.|
|Brandon Kennedy||OL||Out indefinitely - Ankle - 10/12/17||Kennedy underwent surgery for a broken ankle and is expected to miss the remainder of the year.|
|Miller Forristall||TE||out for season - Knee - 9/18/17||Forristall sustained a torn ACL in his knee and is likely to miss the remainder of the season.|
|Christian Miller||LB||out for season - Bicep - 9/3/17||Miller is expected to miss the remainder of the season due to a torn biceps muscle.|
|Keith Mixon||WR||Prob Sat - Ankle - 11/7/17||Mixon has an ankle injury but is expected to play Saturday against Alabama.|
|Gerri Green||LB||Ques Sat - Ankle - 11/7/17||Green has an ankle injury and it is unclear if he will play Saturday against Alabama.|
|Donald Gray||WR||Ques Sat - Groin - 11/6/17||Gray missed the last game battling a groin injury and it is undetermined if he will be available Saturday against Alabama.|
|Gabe Myles||WR||Ques Sat - Foot - 11/6/17||Myles missed the last two games due to a foot injury and his availability for Saturday's contest against Alabama is unclear.|
|Michael Story||OL||Ques Sat - Knee - 11/6/17||Story missed the last three games with a knee injury and his status for Saturday's tilt against Alabama is up in the air.|
|Chauncey Rivers||DL||out for season - Eligibility - 9/4/17||Rivers has been deemed academically ineligible to play for the entire 2017 season by the NCAA.|
|Malik Dear||WR||out for season - Knee - 10/10/17||Dear is recovering from a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season.|
|11/12/16||MSST 3||ALA 51||-28.5/52.5||W/O||-341||-124||-217|
|11/14/15||ALA 31||MSST 6||7/51.5||L/U||14||-146||160|
|11/15/14||MSST 20||ALA 25||-10/55.5||L/U||93||14||79|
|11/16/13||ALA 20||MSST 7||23.5/54||W/U||-186||-143||-43|
|10/27/12||MSST 7||ALA 38||-22/45||W/P||-158||-132||-26|
|11/12/11||ALA 24||MSST 7||17.5/44.5||W/U||-255||-211||-44|
|11/13/10||MSST 10||ALA 30||-13/45.5||W/U||-153||-26||-127|
|11/14/09||ALA 31||MSST 3||10.5/43.5||L/U||-231||-138||-93|
|11/15/08||MSST 7||ALA 32||-21/42.5||W/U||-197||-163||-34|
|11/10/07||ALA 12||MSST 17||4/49||W/U||-59||-38||-21|
Alabama Last 10
|10/7/17||@ TAM||W 27-19||-25/56.5||L/U||47||161||-114|
|9/23/17||@ VAN||W 59-0||-19.5/42||W/O||599||456||143|
|9/2/17||@ FSU||W 24-7||-7.5/51||W/U||19||133||-114|
Mississippi State Last 10
|10/28/17||@ TAM||W 35-14||-3.5/55.5||W/U||84||132||-48|
|9/30/17||@ AUB||L 10-49||7.5/51||L/O||-160||-50||-110|
|9/23/17||@ UGA||L 3-31||2.5/50||L/U||-124||-26||-98|
|9/9/17||@ LT||W 57-21||-10.5/66.5||W/O||144||175||-31|