Alabama Moves Up To No. 1

The feeling watching college football games Saturday afternoon was that the top competition had looked pretty lame. All Alabama had to do to make a nice run at Florida for the top spot, it seemed, was to have an impressive performance against South Carolina.

Everything is relative, Einstein.

Alabama was far from impressive. Most observers would say the Crimson Tide's 20-6 win over South Carolina on a chilly homecoming Saturday night was the least impressive performance of Coach Nick Saban's Bama this year. (Saban did not agree, saying that South Carolina was a good team.)

In any event, that victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Tide's seventh of the year against no losses, was enough to convince the Associated Press voters (sportswriters and sportscasters) that Alabama is number one. Bama moved ahead of Florida, which struggled to a three-point win on a last second field goal against Arkansas.

In the Coaches Poll, Alabama also moved up a spot, passing Texas (which limped past a Sam Bradford-less Oklahoma team that now has three losses). The Longhorns are in third place in both polls. Florida stayed in first place in the Coaches Poll.

In the AP poll, Alabama received 39 votes to 20 for Florida and the Tide had a slim margin of 1,447 to 1,434 points.

In the Coaches Poll, Florida had 49 first place votes, Bama nine, and Texas one.

USC, which hung on to defeat Notre Dame by a touchdown, was fourth in both polls.

As interesting as the polls were, perhaps more interesting is the increased talk about sophomore running back Mark Ingram. Several national commentators now consider Ingram a legitimate candidate for the Heisman Trophy.

Ingram rushed 24 times for 246 yards and a touchdown that iced the game in Saturday's win. It was the second consecutive week he had posted a personal best in rushing. Moreover, he became the number one rusher all-time in Bryant-Denny Stadium history and his 246 yards was third all-time in storied Crimson Tide history (trailing over Shaun Alexander and Bobby Humphrey).

Alabama's first place perch came in the seventh week of the season. Last year Bama achieved number one in the 10th week of the season.

Although Saban is like all coaches ("The only poll that matters is the last one."), that's not true. When Alabama recruiters are calling prospects this week, they'll be calling as coaches of the nation's number one team. And one reason those calls will be made this week is to have top recruits on hand to watch Alabama host Tennessee.

Alabama, 4-0 in Southeastern Conference games, will host the Vols at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Tennessee is 3-3 overall and 1-2 in SEC games and not ranked. In the Vols' last outing, they drubbed Georgia. Tennessee was open Saturday.

In the AP poll, USC was followed by 5. Cincinnati, 6. Boise State, 7. Iowa, 8. Miami, 9. LSU and 10. TCU. South Carolina dropped just a bit, to 23rd. Virginia Tech, Alabama's victim in Atlanta in the opening game of the season, went back to Atlanta for a game against Georgia Tech, lost for only the second time this year, and fell to 15th.

In the Coaches Poll, the top four were followed by 5. Boise State, 6. Cincinnati, 7. TCU, 8. Iowa, 9. Miami and 10. LSU.

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