Poll Talk

The Bowl Championship Series is no longer an issue for Alabama, but the polls continue to be of interest. Alabama fell to 14th in all three polls this week–the Associated Press rankings, the Coaches Poll by USA Today, and the Harris Poll. Steve Townsend, who is a voter in the Harris poll, said that he had Alabama 11th.

"I guess with Auburn ending up ninth the 14th place might be considered right, but I don't know how you penalize a team too much for losing to the number three team (LSU) and the number nine team (Auburn) and winning nine games," Townsend said Monday.

Townsend was not surprised at Auburn's play against Alabama. "Auburn is really good," he said. "I've watched them all year and I knew they were a lot better than a lot of Alabama fans were giving them credit for. They have been very good on offense against everyone. They had two poor defensive games prior to the Alabama game. But they were really ready to play against Alabama."

Townsend said, "I thought Alabama came out like they were still down after the LSU game (an overtime loss to the Bengal Tigers the week prior to Auburn). It took Alabama about 10 minutes to get started. I think Alabama really needs to work on getting the schedule changed. I know Auburn has a big game against Georgia before playing Alabama, but Georgia is not a physical team like LSU is. I think it's awfully tough to play back-to-back games against such physical teams as LSU and Auburn."

Townsend thinks that "right now" it is difficult to project more than one Southeastern Conference team getting into a BCS bowl game. The winner of the SEC Championship Game (Georgia, LSU or Auburn) will go to the Sugar Bowl. "I'd guess Ohio State and Notre Dame would be the two that would get in there," Townsend said. "I guess there is a wild chance that Auburn could make it, but I don't see it happening based on the way the votes are falling."

Townsend continues to believe that USC and Texas will be in the Rose Bowl for the BCS National Championship. "I don't think there is any chance either will lose," he said. "I just can't see UCLA hanging with Southern Cal."

Townsend basically revealed his vote this week when he said, "Right now I'd give the edge to Texas because they are a better defensive team than Southern Cal. But in the championship game, you might give the edge to Southern Cal since they will be playing in Pasadena."

Townsend said that in the event either Texas or Southern Cal did lose, it would be interesting to see if they could retain a spot in the Rose Bowl, or if it would go to run of the teams that is lurking just behind with one loss–LSU, Penn State, or Virginia Tech. (Oregon has one loss, but is far down in the voting.)

Townsend said he was a little surprised to see Notre Dame ahead of Virginia Tech in the Harris Poll. "Virginia Tech has one loss and that was to Miami, and Notre Dame has two losses. One is to Southern Cal, but the other is to Michigan State, which has a losing record."

Townsend watched the Southern Cal-Fresno State game Saturday night in which Fresno State took the Trojans down to the last moments. "It was a great game," Townsend said. "I'm surprised someone hasn't snapped up (Fresno State Coach) Pat Hill. His teams play very well."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Steve Townsend, an independent consultant for college football, is one of 113 voters in the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, which is part of the equation for choosing teams for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games at the end of the season. The BCS formula also consists of the USA Today Coaches Poll, and an average of six computer rankings (Anderson & Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, Jeff Sagarin and Peter Wolfe). The first BCS standings will be released on October 17

Steve Townsend previously served as media relations director at Alabama (1988-98) and for the Southeastern Conference, co-publisher of Tiger Rag (the LSU equivalent of ‘BAMA Magazine), and as a graduate assistant under famed LSU Sports Information Director Paul Manasseh.

He shares his thoughts on his vote with BamaMag.com on a regular basis.


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