Miami Moves Ahead of Unbeaten Alabama in AP Poll
Unbelievably, once-beaten Miami jumped ahead of 9-0 Alabama for the #3 spot in the AP poll.
Miami jumped over unbeaten Alabama, though just barely, and into the No. 3 spot in The Associated Press Top 25. The Hurricanes (7-1) moved up two spots Sunday in the media poll behind No. 1 Southern California and No. 2 Texas, a day after their 27-7 victory at previously unbeaten Virginia Tech. Alabama improved to 9-0 with a 17-0 win at Mississippi State, but stayed put in the Top 25. Only two points separate Miami (1,452) and Alabama (1,450).
Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News had Miami ahead of Alabama on his ballot after watching the Hurricanes manhandle Virginia Tech. “I got a chance to watch most of the second half, and the way they went up and played Virginia Tech made me believe they deserve mention as one of the top three teams in the country,” he said. “They are playing better then Alabama right now.”
Michael Pointer of The Indianapolis Star had Alabama No. 3 and Miami fourth. “I kind of wrestled with that to tell the truth but I came down to my rule if you’re undefeated and play in the SEC you have to be ahead of the team with one loss,” he said. Pointer said he even considered putting Penn State ahead of Alabama. “You have to give [Alabama] credit for winning the games,” he said. “You can spin it however you want, they might not be as impressive at times, but they are unbeaten.”
Not only unbeaten but they’re in the SEC, playing a much tougher schedule.
It’s quite possible that Alabama will wind up losing one or more games this year, with road games at #5 LSU and tough arch enemy Auburn (#15) the next two weeks and once-beaten #9Georgia in the SEC Championship if they win those. It may well be that Miami is the better team. The bottom line is that Miami has lost a game, and not to a team ranked ahead of Alabama but twice-beaten Florida State.
Update: Charles Austin argues in the comments that, “The only way you can say Alabama has a tougher schedule than Miami is to give them credit for games they havenÃ¢€™t played yet.”
Florida State L 10-7 0-1 (0-1)
Clemson W 36-30 1-1 (1-1)
Colorado W 23-3 2-1 (1-1)
South Florida W 27-7 3-1 (1-1)
Duke W 52-7 4-1 (2-1)
at Temple W 34-3 5-1 (2-1)
Georgia Tech Postponed –
North Carolina W 34-16 6-1 (3-1)
Wake Forest 3:30 PM ET Tickets
Georgia Tech 12:00 PM ET Tickets
Alabama Crimson Tide
Middle Tenn. St. W 26-7 1-0 (0-0)
Southern Miss W 30-21 2-0 (0-0)
South Carolina W 37-14 3-0 (1-0) CBS
Arkansas W 24-13 4-0 (2-0)
Florida W 31-3 5-0 (3-0) CBS
Mississippi W 13-10 6-0 (4-0) CBS
Tennessee W 6-3 7-0 (5-0) CBS
Utah State W 35-3 8-0 (5-0)
Mississippi St. W 17-0 9-0 (6-0) CBS
LSU 3:30 PM ET Tickets CBS
15 Auburn 3:30 PM ET Tickets CBS
Miami lost to Florida State, which has lost twice to mediocre Virginia and NC State. They beat Virginia Tech, on the road no less, which is quite impressive. The only other decent team they’ve beaten is Clemson, which has lost four games.
Alabama beat South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee. Now, granted, the Vols are having a down year–although mostly because they’re getting killed by the tough SEC schedule and somebody has to lose those games–but they beat LSU on the road and are still likely headed for a bowl.
As to the “soft non-conference schedule,” that’s true of both teams. If you’re in the SEC or ACC, you’re foolish to schedule any additional hard games. There are usually enough in the conference.
Alabama has two incredibly hard road games in a row coming up, LSU and Auburn, and could lose either or both of them if their offense doesn’t step up a bit. If they win one or both of those, they’ll go to the SEC Championship Game and face Georgia, another possible loss. But, so far, they’ve earned the #3 ranking ahead of teams that have lost.