Alabama, Oklahoma or LSU: Who's No. 1?
The Tide, Sooners and Tigers have all made a case for college football's top ranking.
By: Patrick Snow | 9/26/11, 4:14 PM EDT
The debate rages each season in the college football world – who is the nation’s best team? Most polls have had either Oklahoma, Alabama or LSU ranked in the top spot this year, and you can make a good case for each one being No. 1. The Sooners have won all three of their games by double-digits, including a victory at Florida State. The Tide defense may be the best in the country, and Trent Richardson is an elite running back. LSU had the most impressive September, beating up Oregon in the neutral-site opener and then winning at Mississippi State and West Virginia.
Who should be ranked No. 1?
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
We’ve got Alabama No. 1 in our poll, but you can make a very strong case that LSU is the best team in the nation at this point. We had Alabama No. 1 in our preseason ranking, and the Tide have done nothing to prove they don’t still deserve that top spot. They have been dominant in all four games, highlighted by a quality win on the road at Penn State and a very impressive 38–14 win over Arkansas Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa. I understand why some people have LSU No. 1; the Tigers have been equally impressive against a slightly more difficult schedule. But again, it goes back to the fact that we had Alabama No. 1 in the preseason and this team has played exceptionally well in every game. This debate will be settled on the field when LSU visits Alabama in early November. Should be the game of the year.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
I started the season with Oklahoma at the top, and the Sooners have done nothing wrong in winning their three games. Injuries are mounting for Bob Stoops’ club however, and I would not say that OU is the most impressive team in the nation – so far. That team would be LSU, who seems completely unaffected by playing big games in tough atmospheres. Les Miles’ bunch has the best September resume, so I’ll put the Tigers in the top spot – for now. If Alabama follows its demolition of Arkansas with a convincing win at Florida, it will be difficult to stem the Tide. The good thing is that Alabama and LSU play on November 5, while Oklahoma will face a tough Big 12 slate over next two months – so we will see this debate play out on the field.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Oklahoma has a very good win over Florida State, but I think the best team resides in the SEC – Alabama. The Crimson Tide flexed their muscles a bit against Arkansas, limiting the high-powered Razorback offense to just 14 points. Alabama has room to improve, especially on the offensive line and on defense with the pass rush. However, the Crimson Tide appear to have found their quarterback with sophomore AJ McCarron and running back Trent Richardson is one of the best players in college football. Alabama also catches LSU in Tuscaloosa this year, which helps to give the Crimson Tide a slight edge in that matchup. Alabama isn’t going to be flashy, but with a shutdown defense and Nick Saban at the helm, the Crimson Tide are the best team in college football.
Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
I began the season thinking Alabama was the most complete roster in the nation packaged with the best head coach in the country. Yet, with its performance against Florida State, particularly on defense, the Oklahoma Sooners had pulled into a dead heat for No. 1. The Crimson Tide raised the stakes this weekend. As LSU's defense was giving up 533 yards in Morgantown, Alabama brought the Razorbacks' high-powered attack to its knees. The Hogs mustered only 17 yards rushing and Tyler Wilson threw for just 185 yards. Meanwhile, AJ McCarron was efficient (15 of 20, 2 TD, 0 INT) and Trent Richardson rolled up 211 yards from scrimmage. Give me the Tide - if they can survive Gainesville this weekend.
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