Alabama cracks national polls

After a dominating win on the road at Arkansas, the Crimson Tide made its first appearance this season in the Associated Press poll, coming in at No. 22. <br><br>Alabama was also ranked for the first time in <I></I> poll, but the network publishers had them one spot lower at No. 23.

Every network publisher can vote in the weekly poll, and for the record voted Alabama No. 15.

Giving great weight to cumulative records (otherwise why play the games?), our first eleven spots were occupied by unbeaten teams. Miami, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Georgia, Oregon, Texas, Kansas State, North Carolina State, Wisconsin and Notre Dame occupied spots 1-11 respectively on our ballot.

Notre Dame (at #11), Texas (at #7) and NC State (at #9) represent the biggest departure from our vote and conventional wisdom among other pollsters. Notre Dame may be Notre Dame, but they've been very average for some time now. And until they start putting up big numbers, they should have to climb up the poll slowly like any other newcomer to the nation's elite.

Most pollsters have Texas at either second or third, and there is no doubt the Longhorns have an impressive collection of talent. But until they actually beat one of the elite teams on their schedule, we remain unconvinced.

And we make no apologies for North Carolina State. They're playing terrific, entertaining football and deserve some respect.

No team with more than one loss is ranked on our ballot. Florida State, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama round out the Top 15. Given the Vols' recent struggles, it was tempting to put Bama ahead. But until the Tide defeats them on the field that wouldn't be fair. Frankly, we believe Alabama would match up very well against the Gators. But Florida deserves to be ahead of Tennessee and Bama should trail the Vols.

Iowa State, Southern Cal, LSU, Washington State and Michigan come in at 16 through 20 on our ballot. All have plenty of talent, but the Cyclones are definitely on the move.

Kentucky, Auburn, Colorado State, Washington and Texas A&M in order finish out our Top 25.

Iowa, Penn State, Arkansas and South Carolina were the teams that we most hated to leave off our ballot.

Nebraska fell out of the AP poll for the first time in 21 years and they also tumble from poll this week. Florida State, who along with Nebraska dominated the 1990's, fell this week as well following their loss at Louisville on Thursday.

In the actual poll, Florida State fell all the way to a tie for 11th with Tennessee. Iowa State was the week's biggest mover, jumping six spot from 20th to 14th following their 22 point win over Nebraska.

The Miami Hurricanes took the weekend off and maintained their hold on #1, followed by Oklahoma and Texas. Virginia Tech and Ohio State each moved up one place to round out the top five at 4th and 5th respectively.

September 29th poll:

1 Miami (40)10001
2 Oklahoma9293
3 Texas9162
4 Virginia Tech8765
5 Ohio State8406
6 Georgia7827
7 Oregon7208
8 Florida7029
9 Notre Dame64410
10 Kansas State60013
11 Florida State5644
13 NC State46214
14 Iowa State44420
15 Michigan42217
16 Wisconsin40415
17 Washington36916
18 USC32020
19 Washington State30218
20 LSU20023
21 Air Force15124
22 Penn State12011
23 Alabama102
24 Iowa98
Colorado State98
*First place votes in parenthesis.

Other teams receiving votes:
Texas A&M 19, Kentucky 15, Auburn 13, Colorado 8, Clemson 7, Nebraska 4, Arizona State 3, Bowling Green State 1, UCLA 1.

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