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Senior College Football Columnist

Power Poll: Alabama will have a new challenger for No. 1 next season

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The theme of the postseason is destruction.

Jadeveon Clowney of Vincent Smith. Alabama of Notre Dame. Everyone on the Big East.

It's time for some healing, introspection. The final Power Poll of 2012 looks back on the season.

Dodd's Power Poll
RankTeamComment
1Alabama
Record: 13-1
All you need to know is that the 2013 Crimson Tide already have a Wikipedia page before playing a game. Bama will have 12 starters back for a run at three in a row, four of the past five and No. 11 overall (wire service era). It's their game and we're just watching it. "They're not just better than us," Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick said Monday night. "They're better than everyone."
2Ohio State
Record: 12-0
The Buckeyes are primed and ready to play for it all next year. Urban Meyer starts his second season with the nation's longest winning streak (12 games).
3Texas A&M
Record: 11-2
Aggies vs. Tide would have been the right and just national championship game. We'll have to settle for Bama vs. A&M in College Station in Week 3 next fall.
4Stanford
Record: 12-2
Pac-12 title. Cardinal handled Wisconsin in the Rose. David Shaw agreed to an extension. Kevin Hogan returns. We are living through the best football times in Stanford history.
5Oregon
Record: 12-1
Either Chip Kelly wanted too much control from the Browns or Oregon's coach got cold (Duck) feet. Doesn't matter. From here on in, NFL is going to be wary. Duck fans don't mind.
6Notre Dame
Record: 12-1
The razing was so complete that the first question that pops to mind: Is Notre Dame really back?
7South Carolina
Record: 11-2
Clowney's obliteration of Smith was the go-to highlight of the bowl season. It's clear now that a defensive player can win the Heisman.
8Clemson
Record: 11-2
Good on Clemson, Dabo and the ACC. If Tajh Boyd stays, the Tigers should be conference favorites next year.
9Georgia
Record: 12-2
Aaron Murray is coming back, promptly celebrates by getting into Twitter clash with AJ McCarron over Katherine Webb.
10Louisville
Record: 11-2
The day after the Cardinals beat down Florida, Twitter acted like the SEC disbanded. The conference seemed to rebound nicely Monday night. Back in Louisville, it looks like the Cardinals could become a power in the ACC. Teddy Bridgewater has "it."
11Florida
Record: 11-2
First order of business: Get the offense fixed. It's too far behind the defense to make the Gators a factor in big games.
12Florida State
Record: 12-2
Not quite top 10 in the Power Poll. Florida loss was damaging. Slogged around with Northern Illinois too long. Still can't tell if the Noles are back.
13Kansas State
Record: 11-2
On the night of Nov. 17, the Wildcats were in line to play for the national championship. Then they gave up 116 points in the final three games, losing two.
14LSU
Record: 10-3
Les Miles seemingly had the Chick-fil-A Bowl under control until Clemson played a game of chicken in the final two minutes. Just when you think the SEC West can't get any tougher, the Tigers now have to deal with an emerging Texas A&M.
15Vanderbilt
Record: 9-4
St. James Franklin won nine games at Vandy, a first for the Commodores since 1915.
16Northwestern
Record: 10-3
St. Pat Fitzgerald won 10 games at Northwestern, a first for the Wildcats since 1995 -- and second time ever.
17Boise State
Record: 11-2
Just checking, what conference are the Broncos in today?
18Oklahoma
Record: 10-3
Serious issues now with Sooners. The defense gave up 154 points in the final four contests and Oklahoma became Johnny Football's best game.
19Tulsa
Record: 11-3
Nineteen wins, Conference USA title in Bill Blankenship's two seasons.
20Northern Illinois
Record: 12-2
Let's be clear: Huskies deserved to be in the Orange Bowl. They just played terribly.
21Utah State
Record: 11-2
Say goodbye to the Aggies for another 20 years or so on the national landscape. Gary Andersen to Wisconsin.
22San Jose State
Record: 11-2
First BCS ranking, first wire service ranking since 1990. What does that get you? A coaching change.
23Arkansas State
Record: 10-3
First bowl win since joining FBS in 1992.
24Kent State
Record: 11-3
Dri Archer contemplating NFL after shot to knee in GoDaddy.com Bowl.
25Louisiana Tech
Record: 9-3
Disastrous mistake by AD not getting a 9-3 team into a bowl.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
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