New AP, Coaches' polls reinstate dominant Alabama at No. 1 after opening weekend

By Matt Hinton | Blogger

USC and LSU both opened their seasons Saturday perched atop one of the mainstream polls, and both pounded their opening day opponents accordingly. But nothing the Trojans or Tigers could have done against Hawaii or North Texas would have been enough to hold off the rising tide of Alabama, which vanquished all preseason doubts about its overhauled defense in a 41-14 bludgeoning of Michigan, and emphatically reclaimed the top spot this week in both the Associated Press and Coaches' polls.

On AP ballots, 'Bama picked up 45 of 60 first-place votes, up from 17 in the preseason poll, compared to 11 first-place nods for USC and four for LSU. The story was the same for the coaches, who gave the Crimson Tide 37 of their 59 first-place votes while dropping their preseason No. 1, LSU, all the way to No. 3. One coach bucked his colleagues entirely and voted Oregon No. 1, but good luck finding out who it was.

Alabama returns to the cupcake tray this weekend as a 36-point favorite against Western Kentucky, a line the Hilltoppers' coach, Willie Taggart, has already deemed "a bunch of baloney."

The rest of the top ten this week is nearly identical in both polls. In the AP, the consensus returned with Oregon at No. 4, Oklahoma at five, Florida State sixth, Georgia seventh, Arkansas eighth, South Carolina ninth and West Virginia tenth. The Coaches' poll flips Arkansas and West Virginia in the 8 and 10 spots, but otherwise looks the same.

With the loss to Alabama, Michigan was the only team in either poll to fall out of the top ten, dropping from No. 8 in the preseason to No. 19 in both. In the AP version, the Wolverines are the only team remaining in the top 25 with a loss on opening day; the only other team ranked in the preseason that lost its opener was Boise State, which fell out of the poll from No. 24 following a 17-13 lossat Michigan State. (The Spartans come in this week at No. 11 in both polls.) Boise manages to hang on at the bottom of the Coaches' poll, dropping from No. 22 to No. 25.

The only newcomer to the AP poll: Notre Dame, which vaulted from just outside the preseason edition to No. 22 this week on the strength of a 50-10 blowout over Navy in Dublin, Ireland. In the Coaches' poll, Louisville moves in at No. 24, at the expense of the only exit from the preseason, Auburn.

Full polls are available here.

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