October 15, 2012 11:41:54 AM
Matthew Stevens - email@example.com
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State University football coach Dan Mullen said Sunday his program's "major concern" was not looking forward to a matchup against defending national champion University of Alabama on Oct. 27.
"It's a major concern, and to me it's not the job of the coaching staff," Mullen said. "It's not on the coaches because it sounds like coach talk, but we're watching Middle Tennessee State this week, and that's our whole focus."
MSU (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference), which moved up to No. 15 in The Associated Press poll, will play host to Middle Tennessee State University (4-2) at 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) on Homecoming at Davis Wade Stadium.
Unless the University of Tennessee can rebound from a 41-31 loss to MSU on Saturday this week to beat No. 1 Alabama this week, MSU could be involved in a matchup of undefeated teams when it plays in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
"We're not worried about Alabama right now," MSU senior cornerback Johnthan Banks said.
Mullen said it will be the job his captains to keep the younger players focused on MTSU and not Alabama. He said it is crucial for the Bulldogs to have that focus because MTSU already has defeated Georgia Tech University in Atlanta this season.
"That task at hand is winning our Homecoming game and protecting our home turf to get us to 7-0," Mullen said. "I think they'll keep that focus on that game and that will trickle down to the young guys."
MSU players were asked what they thought about facing Alabama immediately following the Tennessee game. All of them said "no comment."
"I think we play Middle Tennessee next week, and I don't really know who after that," MSU senior offensive guard Tobias Smith said with a smile.
MSU ranked No. 12 in first 2012 Bowl Championship Series standings
MSU is No. 12 in the first Bowl Championship Series standings of the season. The rankings, which will be used to determine which teams will play in the 2013 National Championship game in Miami, were announced Sunday night.
The BCS standings is made up of the coaches' poll, the Harris Poll, and the average of six computer rankings.
The SEC placed six schools in the top 25, and had the most schools (seven) in the top 25.
MSU's ranking ties for the school's third-best mark. MSU's highest ranking was 10th on Nov. 8, 1999.