Poll shuffles, Bama climbs one spot

For a team with two losses and saddled with NCAA probation, the Crimson Tide is receiving a goodly share of respect nationwide. In the latest Associated Press poll released Sunday, Alabama is rated 11th in the country, just one spot lower than <I>BamaMag.com</I> would have placed them on our ballot.

After defeating the Vanderbilt Commodores, 30-8, the Tide's record stands at 7-2. Only one other team (Southern Cal) with two losses is ranked ahead of Alabama in the AP poll.

This Week's Associated Press Poll

No.     Team      Record  Points
 1. Oklahoma (42)  8-0     1,818
 2. Miami (32)     8-0     1,804
 3. Ohio State    10-0     1,705
 4. Texas          8-1     1,564
 5. Washington St. 8-1     1,538
 6. Iowa           9-1     1,501
 7. GEORGIA        8-1     1,304
 8. Virginia Tech  8-1     1,303
 9. Notre Dame     8-1     1,268
10. Southern Cal.  6-2     1,210
11. ALABAMA        7-2     1,113
12. Kansas State   7-2     940
13. Michigan       7-2     899
14. N.C. State     9-1     795
15. Oregon         7-2     667
16. LSU            6-2     647
17. Florida State  6-3     561
18. Colorado       6-3     486
19. Penn State     6-3     468
20. Bowling Green  8-0     437
21. Iowa State     7-3     372
22. Pittsburgh     7-2     357
23. FLORIDA        6-3     327
24. Colorado State 8-2     307
25. Arizona St.    7-3     155

Others (SEC Only) receiving votes: Tennessee (106), Auburn (61).

Understandably, losses by previously unbeatens Georgia, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and North Carolina State shook up the poll quite a bit.

Of interest is that the national voters have finally come around to our point of view for first place. After yet another convincing victory over a Top 25 team (Colorado), the Oklahoma Sooners are now rated No. 1 by the AP voters. Miami follows at No. 2 with the still unbeaten Buckeyes of Ohio State third.

After that, our opinions diverge.

AP voters love a famous name, so the too-often languid Longhorns rate fourth on their poll. Washington State, the current hope of West Coast voters, comes in fifth. For our part, BamaMag.com believes the Hawkeyes of Iowa are playing as well as almost anyone in the country right now, gaining them our fourth-place ranking. And we list the admittedly Gator-bit Bulldogs of Georgia fifth.

BamaMag.com's Ballot

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

We recognize that fans from other parts of the concern will claim bias with our placement of Alabama in the Top 10. AP ranks Southern California in that spot ahead of the Tide. The Trojans are a very good team, but their reputation this year has been built mainly on defense. And in the latest statistical rankings, USC's stop unit comes in as the 16th best in the nation, while Alabama's is No. 2.

No offense Left Coasters, but Bama is better.

In the second ten, AP voters again like Michigan and don't much care for LSU. We disagree. And we believe Penn State and Iowa State are simply playing better football than the Buffaloes and Seminoles of the world.

With numbers 20 through 25, we like Pittsburgh and Tennessee; the AP voters don't very much.

And don't tell anyone, but we think that school down the road deserves to be ranked. We'd just like to know why their coach waited so long to start the obviously more talented quarterback.

The schools BamaMag.com felt worst about leaving off our ballot include TCU, Arizona State, Kentucky, Maryland and Minnesota.

If South Carolina had an offense, they'd be on our ballot instead of Tennessee. And the same is true of Ole Miss and Auburn, except with the Rebels it's a defense and running game that's missing.

And no, we still don't feel bad about snubbing either Bowling Green or Marshall.

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