Alabama dropped one spot to No. 4 during its bye week. Auburn, which scored a big victory Saturday at Ole Miss, took over the Crimson Tide's spot as the top-ranked one-loss team. The rivals are separated by just six voter points.
Unbeaten Mississippi State and Florida State remained at Nos. 1 and 2. Oregon is No. 5.
The AP's drop mimicked the coaches', as the Crimson Tide swapped spots with Auburn and dropped from No. 3 to No. 4. Unbeaten Mississippi State and Florida State held their spots at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
Oregon, which routed Stanford on Saturday, is No. 5.
The uncertainty is gone, and Alabama can thank its top rival for eliminating it. Auburn's victory Saturday over Ole Miss insured the Crimson Tide, if its able to win its final three conference games, of a trip to the SEC Championship.
That's because the Rebels now boast two SEC losses and can no longer hold their early October win over Alabama as a potential head-to-head tiebreaker.
In case you spent Saturday night on a Hawaiian beach far from any news source, Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell fumbled the potential game-winning touchdown with 90 seconds left, suffering a massive injury that required immediate surgery in the process.
Auburn recovered after a replay review overturning the initial call, then held on for a huge road win in the SEC East.
The Opelika-Auburn News celebrated the victory on the front page of the sports section with a headline in huge block letters: "FINDING A WAY." Underneath the headline, however, a giant photo clearly showing Treadwell’s broken leg and dislocated ankle takes up the entire page above the fold.
Here is the cover of the Opelika-Auburn Newspaper. I did a black out job on his lower legs pic.twitter.com/SuV12VgVmK— TheHoundztooth (@TheHoundztooth) November 2, 2014
Well, that's not a good look. RIP, somebody's career.
Problem: Kickoff coverage
Some serious gaps were exposed in Alabama's kick coverage early in the year. First, West Virginia's Mario Alford ran one 100 yards for a touchdown in the opener. Then at Ole Miss, two were returned for significant yardage. Mark Dodson's 54-yarder on the opening kickoff set up a field goal. Jaylen Walton ran another one 39 yards in the second quarter, but it didn't result in any points.
Response: A week after Ole Miss, Alabama faced the SEC's top kickoff return unit, but the Razorbacks got nothing on their two returns. One went for 15 yards and the other was stopped after 8. Texas A&M was also held in check until Trey Williams' 75-yard return in the closing moments, but it didn't lead to points. Tennessee returned three for an average of 21 yards. Since allowing 28 yards a return at Ole Miss, Alabama's surrendering 21.8 a try. Subtract the late one in the A&M win and the number is down to 17.4.
JK Scott made the initial pool of candidates to win the Ray Guy Award, and there's a good chance he'll be around when the herd is thinned in the coming weeks. The Alabama punter was one of 80 candidates named to the award's list of potential winners.
Twelve of the SEC's 14 punters made the list, but few have put up the numbers Scott has through the first nine weeks of the season.
And what I really love about what Maryland did here is not just that the players refused to shake hands, but they then went out and beat Penn State. In Penn State's house.
That's a baller move, man.
This is a pretty entertaining top ten list, if you're down for that sort of thing.
Bama in the NFL roundup: