| FTBL Who's the New No. 1? Roll Tide!


I ran across this tonight. I did expect Alabama would move up somewhere in the top five but not #1. I do not think this will happen but it is an interesting scenario.

September 28, 2008
Who's the New No. 1? Roll Tide!

By Samuel Chi

USC's shocking loss to Oregon State, as it turned out, was merely hors d'oeuvres. Saturday was the feast.

Three more teams in the top 10 in the unofficial BCS standings also went down in defeat against underdog opponents. While Wisconsin's and Florida's losses were unexpected and monumental, they did not deliver the same reverberations as Alabama's resounding 41-30 victory at Georgia did.

The Bulldogs had been ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings and were poised to assume the top ranking after USC's loss. But with the Crimson Tide's convincing victory - the final score was tempered by a couple of late Georgia touchdowns - an argument needs to be made that Alabama, not anyone else, should be No. 1.

And the possibility exists that the Crimson Tide just might be top-ranked when the new BCS standings are unveiled early next week. Two additional elements will be introduced this weekend that should make the next standings our best facsimile yet: The Harris Interactive Poll, accounting for one-third of the standings, will be released for the first time this season; and Anderson & Hester, one of the six BCS computers, will also make its 2008 debut this weekend.

Why might Alabama end up as the new No. 1?

First, the Tide's computer ratings are better than any team in front of them that didn't lose this weekend, and they will only improve with the win over Georgia. Second, Harris voters, turning in their ballots for the first time this season, have less preconceived notions with no "preseason" rankings to consider - at least that should be the case.

Third, and most important, Alabama has been flat-out better than any of the other contenders, against a much tougher schedule.

The Tide opened the season with a 34-10 rout of then-No. 9 Clemson on a neutral site (Georgia Dome in Atlanta) and now added a road win at Athens to their resume. They've scored 90 points on their two SEC opponents and the worst team they've beaten thus far - Western Kentucky - is a respectable 2-3.

Contrast that with the other pretenders to the throne - Oklahoma, LSU, Missouri and Texas. Three of these teams played at least one I-AA opponent and the other, Texas, has feasted on nobody but overmatched cupcakes - all but one at home. Alabama's strength of schedule is among the top 30, the other four teams are much closer to 100 than 50.

About the only thing that would keep Alabama out of the top BCS spot next week, frankly, is petty jealousy among the coaches. In case you weren't paying attention, many coaches are not exactly thrilled with Nick Saban's $4 million annual package that he signed when he returned to the college game after the 2006 season. This season, the Tide have ranked considerably lower in the coaches poll than the AP poll. Last week, Alabama was 8th in the AP but No. 10 in the coaches poll.

Alabama might still emerge as the new No. 1 team in the BCS standings, even taking the potential slights from the coaches into consideration. But perhaps more poignantly, isn't it time for Saban's peers to acknowledge that the guy can recruit - and coach - just a little bit?

Samuel Chi is a former sports columnist and reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner and Contra Costa Times. Now a RealClearWorld editor and self-anointed BCS Guru, he may be reached at sam@realclearsports.com.
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