Maybe next week, Alabama. The Crimson Tide had fans and media gushing after its gritty 20-13 overtime win Saturday at LSU, but the 12 members of the College Football Playoff selection committee chose TCU for the No. 4 spot instead.
In what was the biggest news of this week’s ranking, the No. 4 Horned Frogs not only leaped the Tide, but they also once again topped No. 7 Baylor in spite of the head-to-head result, which gives the committee two things: consistency and controversy. The group set precedent with its initial ranking, and it hasn’t strayed from that, even though Baylor beat TCU on Oct. 11 and just completely upended Oklahoma 48-14. TCU has plenty on its resume to warrant its ranking though, including a recent 41-20 win over then-No. 7 Kansas State.
As you might would expect, Bama fans are taking the news well...
This isn't just a strength of schedule move, although that is part of it. Oregon has played four teams in this week's rankings. Among ranked teams, only Auburn has played more. The Ducks are 3-1 in those games. The Seminoles are 2-0 against teams in this week's rankings.
That's nice, but probably not enough to warrant Oregon being ahead on just that. Another factor in the move would seem to be margin of victory. Oregon, even with a loss, has an average margin of victory a touchdown more than Florida State. The Seminoles won close games against their two ranked opponents, needing overtime for the win over Clemson. Oregon beat all three of its ranked foes by at least 12 points. The Ducks aren't just winning, they're winning with style.
After watching the whole time in Monday's media viewing period, running back T.J. Yeldon was more active Tuesday. First, he did a few drills off to the side by himself. He did this last week recovering from a foot injury. This time it's a mild ankle sprain. Later in Tuesday's viewing window, Yeldon went first in handoff drills with the quarterbacks. He was jogging, but not making any cuts.
Left tackle Cam Robinson was more active in practice Tuesday after limited action Monday. He was with the first group after playing Saturday, two weeks after a high-ankle sprain.
Middle linebacker Reggie Ragland was still rocking the full club (or heavy tape job) on his hand. He broke a bone a week ago in practice, but hasn't missed a workout and had 12 tackles at LSU.
You are not strong.
Games like Saturday's overtime battle with LSU don't stop having an effect as soon as the whistle blows, though. The collisions catch up with you. Soreness sets in and bruises rise to the surface.
"It was tough, but I got out of bed," said Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland. "I didn't really feel it until I started moving around. I came up here for treatment [Sunday] and my shoulder just started killing me, so I had to get in the hot tub and cold tub and calmed it down a little bit."
Austin Shepherd said he was "sore everywhere." "Like you got hit by a Mack Truck," the senior offensive lineman explained. "I've been in here getting treatment and getting my legs flushed and stuff, so I'm ready to go this week because it's going to be another war."
While Alabama slugged it out with LSU, Mississippi State sprinted past UT Martin.
These guys aren't slouches, but this weekend could trim this list. Prescott has been the SEC's best dual-threat quarterback all year, but he faces his toughest test yet with a trip to Tuscaloosa to play an Alabama defense that is allowing an SEC-low 275.2 yards per game. Prescott also has a nation-high four games with 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing. He also leads the country in third-down quarterback rating (202.4) and third-down touchdowns responsible for (14). Beat Bama, and Prescott will jump right back to the top of people's Heisman lists.
MSU running back Josh Robinson has been one of the best in the country this season. His 904 yards, 109.3 per game, ranks second in the SEC. He had 198 yards rushing at Kentucky and 197 at LSU, plus two other 100-plus yard games.
On the other side, Mississippi State (9-0, 5-0 SEC) hasn't ran the ball well against Alabama (8-1, 5-1) the last three years, getting 53 yards last year, 47 in 2012 and just 12 net rush yards in 2011. Saturday's matchup will feature Robinson, an electric playmaker with a bowling ball build, against a deep and talented defensive line.
"Guess what? This is a new Bulldog team," Robinson said. "It ain't the same Mississippi State that you're used to seeing, and we're just going to have to show you Saturday."
Tuesday Practice footage (linebackers, defensive line, tight ends, flea flicker practice??!!)
Linebackers work on forcing fumbles
Arie Kouandjio (offensive line) interview
Landon Collins (safety) interview
Baskketball Coach Anthony Grant press conference after Montevallo game