published Monday, October 21st, 2013

Still the one: Alabama leads FSU, Oregon in first BCS standings

Alabama holds the top spot in the BCS rankings that were released for the first time this season on Sunday.
Alabama holds the top spot in the BCS rankings that were released for the first time this season on Sunday.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

BCS STANDINGS

1. ALABAMA

2. FLORIDA STATE

3. OREGON

4. OHIO STATE

5. MISSOURI

6. STANFORD

7. MIAMI

8. BAYLOR

9. CLEMSON

10. TEXAS TECH

Florida State edged out Oregon for the No. 2 spot in Sunday night's inaugural installment of the Bowl Championship Series standings.

There was no doubt about the top spot.

Alabama, which is seeking to make college football history this season by winning a third consecutive national championship, is a solid No. 1 after racing to a 7-0 record. The Crimson Tide were challenged in their 49-42 victory at Texas A&M on Sept. 14, but they have won every other game by at least 25 points and have held those six foes to 10 points or less.

In the past two weeks, Alabama has throttled Kentucky and Arkansas by a combined score of 100-7 and has racked up 1,200 yards in the process. The Tide slaughtered the Razorbacks 52-0 this past Saturday night and will host improving Tennessee this week.

"I was really proud of the way our guys came out and competed and played in this game," Alabama coach Nick Saban said Saturday night in his media session. "We're trying to set a high standard for how we improve and how we play, and we came out right off the bat offensively and had a really good first drive and scored the first couple of times we had the ball. We made some explosive plays in the passing game, and we were able to run the ball.

"I'm pleased with the progress we've made, but I think it's important that our team continues to focus on improving. I still don't think we've played our best game."

The Southeastern Conference ended the 2012 season with a whopping six of the top 10 teams in the BCS standings but produced just two Sunday night, with Alabama joined by No. 5 Missouri. Revitalized Auburn checked in at No. 11, with No. 13 LSU, No. 16 Texas A&M and No. 21 South Carolina giving the SEC six teams in the top 25.

Oregon registered routs of Virginia (59-10) and Tennessee (59-14) in racing out to its 7-0 start, but Florida State provided the season's most impressive triumph Saturday night with its 51-14 humbling of Clemson in Death Valley. Clemson was ranked No. 3 in the polls going into the game.

"I didn't know if we would get quite to second," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said Sunday night on ESPN, which released the BCS standings. "I thought we would be around third and maybe fourth at the lowest, but I thought we would have a shot. I'm very happy with where we're at."

ESPN analyst Brad Edwards said the Seminoles would not be No. 2 for long if Oregon keeps winning.

"It's not going to hold up," Edwards said on the network. "If you look at the remaining schedules for both teams, Florida State has one team [Miami] left on its regular-season schedule that is ranked in the BCS top 25. Oregon has three, and every team left on Oregon's schedule has a winning record right now."

Alabama's five remaining opponents are Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State, UTC and Auburn, who have a combined record of 24-11.

Senior quarterback AJ McCarron completed 15 of 21 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns for the Crimson Tide, who led Arkansas 28-0 at halftime, and they wound up rushing for 352 yards. The Razorbacks were held to 256 yards and only 91 through the air.

"It's important for our offense to start fast," McCarron told reporters afterward. "Our O-line did a good job blocking and everybody made plays, and that helped us throughout the night dictate what the defense was going to do. We're starting to come together."

The biggest setback for Alabama was the potential loss of junior safety Vinnie Sunseri, who suffered a knee injury that Saban said was very serious. Sunseri was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Sunday.

"It will definitely be a loss for us, but he will be able to be there and be able to talk to guys," McCarron said. "He does a lot for us."

Said Saban: "From a character standpoint and as a person, he's one of the best guys I've ever had the opportunity to coach."

Tide tidbits

Alabama has pitched a first-half shutout in eight of its last 11 games dating back to last season. ... Senior linebacker C.J. Mosley had 10 tackles against the Razorbacks and now has 58 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss this season. ... A week after Crimson Tide tailbacks T.J. Yeldon (124) and Kenyan Drake (106) went over the 100-yard mark at Kentucky, Derrick Henry (111) and Drake (104) turned the trick against Arkansas. ... Sophomore defensive back Bradley Sylve (ankle) and freshman tailback Altee Tenpenny (toe) are questionable for this week's game.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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