The Only Team Tide Should Worry About

An open date for Alabama football meant a different type of Saturday for me, a day of observing other top teams around the country and around the conference. At the end of an interesting day there was much discussion among television commentators about how the new polls would look this week.

If this was the final week of the season, there would be a huge amount of interest in the Alabama camp on how the polls would shake out after a weekend such as this one. Bama was ranked second to fourth in the various polls. Oklahoma was a unanimous number one, but the Sooners were beaten by Texas. Number three LSU and number five Missouri were also beaten.

Unbeaten teams with impressive performances Saturday included Penn State trouncing Wisconsin and Oklahoma State upsetting Missouri.

That had the talking heads on television scrambling to predict how the polls would look this week.

From my perspective on the couch:

The Big 12 has some teams with offense, but defense leaves something to be desired. Texas and Oklahoma racked up 80 points between them.

No one should want to play against the quarterbacks at Missouri or Penn State.

Surely Florida will be representing the East in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

Will LSU learn not to punt to great return men before the Tigers host Bama?

How have things gotten so bad at Tennessee and Auburn? (I didn't see the Pay Per View game Auburn had against Arkansas, but did see the final score.)

And how the heck did Ole Miss beat the Gators?

That last is particularly relevant because Alabama comes off its open date with Mississippi coming to town. The Crimson Tide will host the Rebels in Bryant-Denny Stadium with kickoff at 2 p.m. Saturday and CBS televising the game.

Midway through the season there is going to be some discussion of which teams might make it to the BCS Championship Game, and Alabama is one of the teams that will be in the mix of that conversation. I don't have my hopes up that Bama will go to number one this week.

Nick Saban, of course, won't know where Alabama is ranked and won't care because it doesn't matter. Well, it doesn't matter. Who wins a football game doesn't matter, either, except to those who are interested. Most college football fans are interested in the polls.

There is a lot more interest in the polls when your team is undefeated. For fans, one of the games within the game of the days when Alabama was fighting for national championships was looking at the college football picture to see what had to happen at Notre Dame or Southern Cal or Texas for Bama to get the title.

Where Saban is correct is that a team spending time poll watching is doomed to slip down in the rankings.

Bama can't play the "What if" game. The Tide must concentrate on the games at hand. There is no reason to be worried about Texas or Penn State or Florida. There is really no reason to be worried about Ole Miss.

The only team Alabama has to worry about is Alabama. If the Tide will prepare properly, Bama has shown that it can get the job done. Do that every week and the polls, as the saying goes, will take care of themselves.

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