University of Alabama football team clinches No. 1 spot in AP poll

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban after a game last year. Saban's 2008 Crimson Tide team has moved to No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time in regular season play since 1980.

The University of Alabama's football team, the Crimson Tide, has reached the top spot in the Associated Press's weekly college football rankings. Forty-six of the sixty-five sportswriters from across the country agreed Alabama's 35–0 win over Arkansas State on Saturday was the best game in the country, giving Alabama the top spot in the rankings.

Once a storied football program under former coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, who led the Crimson Tide to six national championship titles, the team had slipped from its former glory in recent years. With the AP Poll's most recent publication on Sunday morning, the Crimson Tide, only one of four Division I teams undefeated and the only one undefeated in the Southeastern Conference, has taken the top spot for the first time during the regular football season since 1980.

The Tuscaloosa News remarked that the win on Saturday was a good gift for coach Nick Saban, who turned 57 on Friday. On Sunday, a brief statement was issued to reporters by Saban, in which he said, "We appreciate the interest shown to our team, but rankings at this time of the season do not define anything relative to the postseason...Our concern is our preparation to play a very good LSU team [Saturday], and these external factors can not affect our planning, schedule or focus on the task at hand."

The game next Saturday is crucial to the Crimson Tide, as it will effectively decide who will play in the Southeastern Conference championship game. Louisiana State University (LSU), a powerhouse in past seasons, suffered two losses this season. Alabama hopes to clinch its first conference championship since 1999 and dethrone LSU, the current reigning national champion in college football.

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