No. 1: Mississippi State football vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
If you want to put the LSU Tigers here, that’s fine. I’ll hear you out on that argument and I won’t inherently be upset about that. But it’s hard to not put Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide here as the opponents MSU will have in its toughest game for the 2023 Mississippi State football season.
And there are a few reasons as to why I put Alabama here over the Tigers, even though LSU managed to beat Alabama a season ago and ended up winning the SEC West during the 2022 season.
I suspect that the Tigers will be very good once again in 2023. Brian Kelly is an incredible coach and the folks in Baton Rouge have a ton of talent.
But Alabama has been so consistently dominant over the past 15 seasons (especially in this series) that it’s difficult to imagine MSU even remotely finding a way to come out on top of this match up.
It just doesn’t really happen very often for the Bulldogs.
On top of that, Alabama was the more consistent team a season ago. LSU may have been able to beat Alabama, but the Tigers were up and down at times and suffered a few different deflating losses (13-40 vs. Tennessee and 23-38 vs. Texas A&M). Meanwhile, Alabama’s two losses were by a combined four points and on the road.
Add in the fact that Mississippi State will face Alabama after the Bulldogs play the Tigers and then the South Carolina Gamecocks and that can potentially mean that MSU might be a bit worn out heading into this particular match up.