84 / 59
      71 / 52
      78 / 56

      No. 1 Alabama coasts into showdown with No. 5 LSU

      By JOHN ZENORAP Sports Writer

      TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - The Southeastern Conference Western Division is getting a jumpstart on the playoff system.

      No. 1 Alabama won the semifinal game 38-7 over No. 17 Mississippi State, and now moves into the championship round against No. 5 LSU. The winner moves a big step closer toward the SEC championship game and perhaps another national title shot.

      Not against each other this time, presumably.

      Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban says this point of the season is "kind of like the playoffs."

      The Bulldogs came in unbeaten but trailed 21-0 by the opening minutes of the second quarter. Alabama (8-0, 4-0) marches into Baton Rouge Saturday night still having trailed all of 15 seconds. LSU (7-1, 3-1) had an open date since a 24-19 win over No. 16 Texas A&M.

      Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.