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Crimson Tide rolls, retains top ranking


    Mark Ingram celebrates his 25-yard touchdown run (AP Photo)

While Alabama, Florida, Texas, TCU and Boise State maintained their spotless records with easy victories, Cincinnati got a much-needed week off. In fact, with only three top-20 teams losing, this week’s poll changed very little.

Northwestern, 8-4, jumped into the top 25 with a thrilling 33-31 victory over Wisconsin. The Wildcats erased Iowa from the undefeated list two weeks ago.

Ole Miss, which opened the season in the top five, pulled out a 25-23 victory over LSU. The Tigers, ranked No. 10 a week ago, have lost twice in the last three weeks by a combined total of 11 points.

Stanford, which surged into the top 25 by scoring more than 50 points in successive victories over Oregon and USC, didn’t have enough left in the tank to hold off California and was replaced in the top 20 by the rival Bears.

Alabama retained the No. 1 ranking, barely breaking a sweat in its 45-0 victory over Tennessee-Chattanooga. The Crimson Tide played its starters just a little more than half of the game, so they will be more than ready to roll Friday afternoon when they face rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

Mark Ingram, one of three semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, gained 102 yards and scored two touchdowns in the first half. He was among four backs to run for more than 60 yards and average more than four yards per carry. Julio Jones also recorded a game-full of stats in the first half – three receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown. In addition to his usual outstanding performance on defense – he intercepted his second pass of the season – Javier Arenas set a Southeastern Conference record with his seventh punt return for a touchdown.

Alabama and Florida are clearly the two best teams in the country. Their December 5th battle for the SEC championship will be the game of the year.

Here is my ballot for this week:
  1. Alabama (11-0)
  2. Florida (11-0)
  3. Texas (11-0)
  4. TCU (11-0)
  5. Cincinnati (11-0)
  6. Boise State (11-0)
  7. Georgia Tech (10-1)
  8. Pittsburgh (9-1)
  9. Virginia Tech (8-3)
10. Oregon (9-2)
11. Ohio State (10-2)
12. Oklahoma State (9-2)
13. Iowa (10-2)
14. Penn State (10-2)
15. California (8-3)
16. North Carolina (8-3)
17. Miami (Fla.) (8-3)
18. Clemson (8-3)
19. Oregon State (8-3)
20. Ole Miss (8-3)
21. LSU (8-3)
22. Houston (9-2)
23. Brigham Young (9-2)
24. Nebraska (8-3)
25. Northwestern (8-4)