TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Maybe Alabama and Auburn had something else on their minds entering the Iron Bowl warmup acts, like each other.

It took both teams some time to get going Saturday against Football Championship Subdivision opponents. Now, the second-ranked Crimson Tide and 15th-ranked Tigers can turn their focus exclusively to the rivalry – always a hot topic year-round among fans in the state.

“It’s the biggest college rivalry in history, so of course you’re going to want to have fun and do the things you’ve got to do to prepare for it,” Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland said.

For the sixth straight year, Saturday night’s game at Bryant-Denny Stadium will have national title implications. The winner of the Iron Bowl has won four of the last five BCS championships. Both were in contention for the national title going into the 2013 game, won by Auburn on Chris Davis’s 109-yard return of a missed field goal on the final play.

Alabama (10-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference), which holds the top spot in the College Football Playoff rankings, can secure a berth in the SEC championship game against either No. 8 Georgia or No. 17 Missouri with a victory over Auburn.

The Tigers (8-3, 4-3) are angling to be spoilers and land a bigger bowl after dropping out of the national title picture with back-to-back losses to Texas A&M and Georgia. Auburn rebounded to beat Samford on Saturday, while Alabama defeated Western Carolina.

MISSISSIPPI STATE: For perhaps the first time in more than a month, the No. 4 Bulldogs looked like a team that belonged in the College Football Playoff.

Their 51-0 victory Saturday night over Vanderbilt served as a reminder of how good this team can be when playing well.

Dak Prescott threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to lead Mississippi State (10-1, 6-1 SEC), which jumped to a 37-0 halftime lead and enjoyed its biggest margin of victory in a conference game since 1936.

It was everything Mississippi State could have hoped for following its loss to Alabama on Nov. 15.

“That was Mississippi State football tonight,” Bulldogs Coach Dan Mullen said. “It was great to see us respond off of a loss, to come out here and play at that level.”

Now it’s Egg Bowl week. The Bulldogs play at No. 18 Mississippi (8-3, 4-3 SEC) on Saturday. To reach the SEC championship game, Mississippi State must beat Ole Miss and hope Auburn upsets Alabama.

BAYLOR: The No. 5 Bears (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) traded places with Big 12 co-leader TCU in the new AP Top 25 poll, improving its hopes of getting into the College Football Playoff.

“I think our team’s record speaks for itself,” Coach Art Briles said after a 49-28 victory over Oklahoma State late Saturday night. “I think good teams find ways to win, and that’s kind of what we did.”