Halfway Through, Tide Is Perfect

It's almost hard to believe that the 2011 college football regular season has reached the midway point. Alabama has played six of 12 regular season games. While it may be a surprise that the football year is moving so rapidly, the success of Bama is not a surprise.

Alabama was highly ranked in pre-season polls, and the Crimson Tide has lived up to its billing. Bama has compiled a 6-0 record, including three wins against nationally ranked teams, two of them on the road.

And in case anyone was worried about it, the Tide is now bowl eligible, meaning America's most famous bowl team will be in post-season play for a record 58th time going after a record 33rd bowl victory.

Of course, no one in the Bama camp is seriously considering just any bowl game. The BCS National Championship Game is on January 9 in New Orleans this season, and the Tide has quite a history of winning and/or cementing national titles in the City That Care Forgot.

Alabama continues to be in top contention for the opportunity to play for the big prize. The Southeastern Conference has provided the last five BCS champions, including Bama defeating Texas at the Rose Bowl in 2009, and SEC teams Alabama and LSU are currently top choices for a berth.

Bama is coming off a 34-0 victory over Vanderbilt at the Tide's homecoming Saturday. A.J. McCarron passed for four touchdowns, tying for second best in that category in Alabama history.

Alabama will host LSU on Nov. 5 in what is expected to be regarded as the game of the year in regular season. But before then, both teams have some work to do.

This week Alabama goes to Ole Miss to take on the Rebels in an SEC game at 5 p.m. CDT Saturday in Oxford. ESPN2 will televise the game. The Rebels of Coach Houston Nutt had an open week to get regady for Bama. Mississippi is 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the conference.

The Harris Poll is out this week and has LSU a solid number one, followed by Alabama, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Boise State. The Harris Poll is determined by votes from a panel of former coaches, players, administrators, and current and former members of the media.

The top three teams in virtually every poll all year have been Alabama, LSU, and Oklahoma.

In addition to LSU and Alabama being ranked one-two in the Harris Poll, a total of six different SEC teams are listed in the top 25 of the three major polls – USA Today Coaches, Harris Interactive, and Associated Press polls.  In the USA Today poll, LSU and Alabama are second and third, followed by Arkansas 11th and South Carolina 13th.  In the Harris Interactive poll, LSU and Alabama are 1-2, followed by Arkansas 11th, South Carolina 15th and Florida 25th.  In the AP poll, LSU and Alabama are 1-2 followed by Arkansas 10th, South Carolina 15th and Auburn 24th.

Trent Richardson had his fifth consecutive 100-yard rushing game with 19 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown. Marquis Maze led the SEC in receiving last week with nine catches for 93 yards.

Looking at SEC teams in NCAA statistics this week:

Four SEC teams are in the top ten in total defense (Alabama – 3rd; LSU – 5th; Georgia – 6th; South Carolina – 9th) … Alabama leads the nation in rush defense, scoring defense and is third in total defense and fourth in pass defense … LSU is fourth in rush defense and turnover margin; 5th in total defense and 8th in scoring defense … South Carolina is third in the nation in pass defense and 9th in total defense … Tennessee's Tyler Bray is 11th in the nation in pass efficiency and 17th in total offense … Florida's Caleb Sturgis is third in the nation in field goals and Ole Miss' Tyler Campbell is 8th in punting … Ole Miss' Jeff Scott leads the nation in punt returns and LSU's Morris Claiborne is 6th in kickoff returns … Kentucky's Danny Trevathan is 7th in the nation in tackles while teammate Winston Guy is 9th … Alabama's Trent Richardson is fifth in the nation in scoring and ninth in rushing … South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore is 6th in the nation in rushing and 20th in all-purpose rushing.

Among SEC teams, Florida has the best mark against AP top 25 teams since 1989. During that time the Gators are 68-52-1 (56.6 per cent). Alabama is second best with a .519 winning percentage on a 54-50-1 mark.

Alabama has played only one game in six this year witnessed by fewer than 100,000 in the stadium, and that one was at Florida where a near-record crowd of over 90,000 jammed into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

In five SEC home games last week, the total attendance was 447,627, an average of 89,525 per game. The average attendance against stadium capacity was 99.68 per cent.

In 40 SEC home games this season, the total attendance is 3,104,872, which is an average of 77,617 per game. Average attendance against capacity for the season has been 95.37 per cent.

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