Tide climbing up the polls

With the college football season close to two thirds of the way done, the national scene is coming more into focus. <br><br>Playing its best football of the season against quality opponents and on national television, Alabama continues its climb up the polls.

On-the-field results eventually force even the most biased voters to face reality. Game-day scores are finally forcing the AP voters to recognize what we told them weeks back. Paper tigers like Michigan had been riding past history to their earlier rankings, while the Iowas of the world just keep on winning.

Associated Press Poll

No.     Team      Record   Points
 1. Miami, Fla.    7-0     1,832
 2. Oklahoma       7-0     1,788
 3. Virginia Tech  8-0     1,611
 4. Notre Dame     8-0     1,597
 5. GEORGIA        8-0     1,582
 6. Ohio State     9-0     1,575
 7. Texas          7-1     1,351
 8. Washington St. 7-1     1,271
 9. Iowa           8-1     1,269
10. N.C. State     9-0     1,232
11. Southern Cal.  6-2     1,100
12. ALABAMA        6-2     955
13. Colorado       6-2     894
14. Kansas St.     6-2     778
15. Michigan       6-2     702
16. Arizona St.    7-2     625
17. LSU            6-2     604
18. Florida St.    5-3     551
19. Oregon         6-2     536
20. Penn State     5-3     388
21. Bowling Green  7-0     361
22. Iowa State     6-3     335
23. Minnesota      7-1     327
24. Colorado St.   7-2     144
25. TENNESSEE      4-3     119

Other SEC teams receiving votes: Florida (103), Auburn (54).

The AP voters are still not convinced about North Carolina State. Past history a relatively weak ACC schedule continues to hamper Chuck Amato's team. But ask yourself this question. If Georgia Tech was undefeated at 7-0, where would they be ranked? A looming game with Florida State will tell this tale one way or another.

Name recognition will always be a factor in national voting. No offense to the USC Trojans, who have a stout defense, but it's no accident that Southern Cal is the highest ranked team in the nation with two losses. And yes, we do realize that fans from other parts of the country might say the same thing about Alabama.

BamaMag.com's Ballot

No.     Team      Record
 1. Oklahoma       7-0
 2. Miami, Fla.    7-0 
 3. GEORGIA        8-0
 4. Virginia Tech  8-0
 5. Notre Dame     8-0
 6. Ohio State     9-0
 7. N.C. State     9-0
 8. Iowa           8-1
 9. Texas          7-1
10. ALABAMA        6-2
11. Washington St. 7-1
12. Southern Cal.  6-2
13. Arizona St.    7-2
14. Minnesota      7-1
15. Colorado       6-2
16. Kansas St.     6-2
17. LSU            6-2
18. Colorado St.   7-2
19. Oregon         6-2
20. Penn State     5-3
21. Iowa State     6-3
22. Florida St.    5-3
23. Michigan       6-2
24. FLORIDA        5-3
25. AUBURN         5-3

As in weeks past, we recognize Miami's talent. But Oklahoma is talented, too, and the Sooners have beaten better teams more convincingly. Also, we think Frank Beamer may run the best program in the nation. But Georgia can both run AND pass the football, which gives them our vote over the Hokies.

We rank Alabama in the Top 10, ahead of one team with a better record (Washington State) and ahead of the Trojans. The season is far enough along that strict adherence to overall records is not as important in our vote. And honestly, if Bama played either USC or WA State on a neutral field, who would you bet on?

In the bottom ten of the poll, we rank Minnesota and Colorado State significantly higher than the AP voters, while Michigan and Florida State come in farther down our ballot. Again, there's that name recognition thing. Poll voters honor it almost reflexively, we prefer not to when we can avoid it.

Where is Bowling Green on our ballot? You might ask just as well about Marshal. Because the answer is the same for both. Play in a major conference against legitimate competition--or at least schedule Top 25 teams like Air Force did--and we'll take notice. Until then, enjoy your gaudy record, but don't expect serious voters to care.

We added Florida and Auburn to the bottom of our ballot. Neither really deserved it--though Auburn did play very well in their surprising win over LSU Saturday. But those two deserve mention as much as 10-15 other squads out there, so we went with the teams we were more familiar with.

South Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, TCU, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh--and yes, even Tennessee--head the list of teams just outside our Top 25.

NOTE: All of this is obviously opinion, and yours is probably just as valid as ours. Tell us how and why we're wrong on the Bama Board.

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