Alabama Must Lose To Fall From No. 1

It is obvious that it is going to be all or nothing for Alabama this year. Much has been made of the upcoming game against Auburn that will be for the Southeastern Conference Western Division championship and berth in the SEC Championship Game.

One other thing is obvious. If Alabama can win against Chattanooga this week (1 p.m. CST in Bryant-Denny Stadium), at Auburn Nov. 30, and in the SEC title game in Atlanta Dec. 6, Bama will be going to the BCS National Chamnpionship Game.

Alabama's pedestrian effort against Mississippi State on Saturday in Starkville, a 20-7 Crimson Tide win, is proof positive that the only way the Crimson Tide can fall from the number one spot is to lose. Even after Bama's poor performance against the Bulldogs, Alabama remains number one in the Associated Press top 25 by sportswriters and broadcasters and the Coaches Poll conducted by USA Today.

The Crimson Tide was number one in the pre-season polls and has been number one in every poll this year. With three other undefeated teams in the top four, however, there is almost a certainty that Bama has to be undefeated through 12 games to have a chance at a third consecutive BCS national championship. In both 2011 and 2012 Alabama survived a regular season loss and made it to the BCS national championship game. And, indeed, won both those games (along with the 2009 championship, which the Tide won with a 14-0 record).

Thus far, Bama is 10-0 and collected 55 of the 60 votes in the AP rankings and 56 of the 62 first place votes in the Coaches Poll. Florida State, also 10-0, is number two in both polls and received all the first place votes not awarded to Alabama. FSU is coached by Jimbo Fisher, formerly an assistant coach under Alabama Coach Nick Saban.

The top five teams are the same in both polls with just a little difference.. Following Alabama and Florida State are Baylor (9-0), Ohio State (10-0), and Oregon (9-1) in the AP rankings, while Ohio State is third and Baylor fourth in the Coaches Poll.

Auburn, which has been the surprise team of the SEC and, for that matter the nation with a 10-1 record, is sixth in the AP poll and seventh in the Coaches, while Clemson (9-1) is sixth in the Coaches and seventh in the AP.

Missouri (9-1) is eighth in both rankings.

The AP rounds out the top 10 with Texas A&M (9-2) and Stanford (8-2), while the Coaches have Oklahoma State (9-1) ninth and Texas A&M 10th.

Other SEC teams in the top 25 are South Carolina (8-2), 11th in the Coaches Poll and 12th by the AP; LSU (7-3), 18th by the AP and 19th by the Coaches; and Ole Miss (7-3), 24th in the AP. Georgia, which had fallen out of the Coaches top 25 earlier this year, received one vote for 25th in the Coaches poll and was also among those receiving votes in the AP poll. Texas and Miami were other teams that were dropped from the top 25 rankings in both polls.

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