Alabama overtakes Florida State as number one in the Associated Press poll. Alabama finished three points ahead of Florida State in the latest voting with 1,426 points. The Crimson Tide received 25 first place votes. Florida State received 29. It was the first time a No. 2 team received more first place votes than the No. 1 team this late in season in 46 years.
The latest switch at No. 1 may have more to do with how unimpressive Florida State has been in recent weeks than how impressive the Tide has been. The Seminoles struggled to get by Florida 24-19 on Saturday. Quarterback Jameis Winston threw three first half interceptions. The Seminoles fell behind 9-0 as a result, but clawed back to escape with the victory.
It was the sixth straight close call for Florida State. They had already fallen to third in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings. Now voters have followed suit, even though the Seminoles are the lone undefeated team in the Football Bowl Subdivision and the defending national champions.
Alabama has responded with seven straight wins since losing to Ole Miss back on Oct. 4. Alabama rallied past Auburn 55-44 behind 28 straight points. That impressive win led to Alabama overtaking Florida State as number one in the Associated Press poll. The win also earned the Tide the Southeastern Conference West division title, and a spot against No. 14 Missouri in the SEC Championship game.
Oregon remained third in the latest poll. The Ducks received five first place votes. Heisman Trophy frontrunner Marcus Mariota will lead Oregon into the Pac-12 Championship game against Arizona on Friday. TCU jumped two spots over Baylor for fourth. Mississippi State had previously held the No. 4 spot, but lost to Ole Miss 31-17 on Saturday.
TCU’s jump is intriguing, considering they lost to Baylor 61-58 earlier this season. Voters apparently used the eye test to separate the two teams despite the head-to-head result. TCU rolled over an inspired Texas team on Thanksgiving. Baylor on the other hand struggled to a two-point win over struggling Texas Tech.
Ohio State moved up one spot to seventh following their 42-28 win over Michigan Saturday. The Buckeyes arguably have been more impressive in recent weeks than both TCU and Baylor. But their chances of leaping into the top five vanished with the injury to quarterback J.T. Barret. Barrett suffered a broken ankle in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s win. Ohio State will limp into the Big Ten Championship game next week to face No. 11 Wisconsin.
Michigan State, Arizona, Kansas State, and Mississippi State rounded out the top 10. Ole Miss had the biggest jump of any team. The Running Rebels leaped six spots to No. 13. Georgia and UCLA had the biggest drop. Each team fell seven spots. Georgia dropped to No. 15 following their overtime loss to Georgia Tech. UCLA fell to No. 16 after being dumped by Stanford 31-10 this past Friday. Marshall, Colorado State and Minnesota fell out of the top 25. Marshall suffered their first loss of the season in a 67-66 shootout against Western Kentucky.
As for the top the teams, Alabama will try to ride the momentum of overtaking Florida State for number one in the Associated Press Poll. A win versus Missouri will essentially guarantee their spot in the College Football Playoff. The Seminoles must overlook the drop in the rankings. They will have their hands full next week against No. 12 Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game.
Commentary by King Motley
Photo by Phillip Hendon – Flickr License