Alabama ascended to the No. 1 ranking this week, but the Crimson Tide will have to pass a tough road test at No. 11 Mississippi to hang onto it. Alabama has won 10 straight meetings — though three victories from 2005-07 were vacated — including a 52-7 romp in its last trip to Ole Miss in 2011, but third-year coach Hugh Freeze has quickly built the Rebels into a Southeastern Conference title contender. "We expect to compete Saturday. We expect to have a chance to win it," Freeze told reporters. "I don't know that we will. I have no idea what the scoreboard will say at the end, but I expect our kids to go and compete and have fun and do a good job."
Ole Miss is 4-0 for the first time since 1970 and aiming for its first 5-0 start since 1962, but the Rebels are beginning a grueling stretch in which four of their next five opponents are ranked in the top 15. Alabama is coming off a bye week that allowed the Crimson Tide to rest and get healthy after a 42-21 victory over Florida to open SEC play. The Rebels are 0-10 all-time against top-ranked opponents.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Alabama -6.5.
ABOUT ALABAMA (4-0, 1-0 SEC): The Crimson Tide had some trouble dispatching West Virginia in the season opener but have since rounded into their usual dominant form. The offense is rolling up 594.3 total yards and 42 points per game, as Blake Sims has excelled at quarterback and receiver Amari Cooper (43 catches, 655 yards) has emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate. Defensively, Alabama is outstanding against the run, allowing 62 rushing yards per game.
ABOUT MISSISSIPPI (4-0, 1-0): The Rebels have been dominant on both sides of the ball, albeit against relatively weak competition. Quarterback Bo Wallace has put up big numbers with 317.8 passing yards per game and 11 touchdowns but he has also thrown six interceptions and likely will have to limit his mistakes for the Rebels to pull off the upset. Ole Miss leads the nation in pass efficiency defense (74.19) and is in the top five in the country in total defense (248 yards per game) and scoring defense (8.5 points per game).
1. Alabama leads the nation in third-down conversion percentage (63 percent) and ranks third in third-down conversion defense (24 percent).
2. Ole Miss has forced at least one turnover in 27 consecutive games, tied for the second-longest active streak in the nation behind Lousiana-Monroe (30).
3. Cooper (147) is fourth on Alabama's all-time list for receptions and needs five catches to tie Freddie Milions (152) for third.
PREDICTION: Alabama 19, Mississippi 16