The Norman Transcript

National Sports

October 22, 2012

Tide still rolling strong

NORMAN — Even better than the Bear.

Alabama is No. 1 in the AP poll for the eighth straight week, the longest run atop the rankings in the history of the storied program.

The Tide has twice previously been No. 1 for seven consecutive weeks — in 1979 when Bear Bryant coached ‘Bama to his last national title and in 1980 when the Tide finished sixth.

Nick Saban’s Tide is working on trying to win its third national title in the last four seasons.

Alabama’s latest No. 1 ranking came with just the slightest smudge. The Tide received 59 of 60 first-place votes after being a unanimous top pick for the last three weeks.

Oregon is No. 2 for the fifth consecutive week, though the gap between the Ducks and No. 3 Florida narrowed after the Gators beat South Carolina 44-11 on Saturday.

Florida was so good it persuaded one voter to give the Gators a first-place vote. And why not?

To this point, Florida has played a tougher schedule than both the Tide and Ducks, and dominating a good South Carolina team — albeit without producing much offense — was enough for Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland to make the switch.

“That gave the Gators three wins over very good opponents, while Alabama still has that opening win over Michigan and then blowouts of lesser teams,” he wrote in a blog post.

Alabama is about to enter the difficult part of its schedule. The Tide is home against unbeaten and No. 13 Mississippi State on Saturday. The next week is the latest installment of Alabama’s Game of the Century series with LSU. After that, No. 22 Texas A&M comes to Tuscaloosa.

South Carolina was the only team ranked in the top 16 last week to lose Saturday, so the top half of the latest poll only had minor adjustments.

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