Breaking down the AP college football poll after Week 1 of the regular season.
MAKING A STATEMENT
After a close preseason vote left Southern California No. 1, just ahead of Alabama and LSU, the Crimson Tide separated itself from the pack by taking apart Michigan 41-14 on Saturday in Texas.
USC fans are no doubt wondering just how badly the Trojans needed to beat Hawaii to keep the top ranking. USC won 49-10 at home as heavy favorites. But hold the outrage. No. 1 winning and falling is fairly common. It's happened 86 times in the 76-year history of the poll, and every year since 2007 — including in 2008 when USC jumped preseason No. 1 Georgia after the first week of the season.
So for those ready to scream SEC bias, relax.
The Tide plays Western Kentucky this week, so it seems safe to say that Nick Saban's crew will go to No. 8 Arkansas on Sept. 15 undefeated — if not the No. 1 team in the country.
The last time Alabama was No. 1 during the regular season was October 2010. Last year, Alabama didn't reach No. 1 until it mattered most. At the end.
Sure it was only Miami, Ohio, but Ohio State's 56-10 victory in Urban Meyer's first game as coach was enough to boost the Buckeyes four spots in the poll to No. 18.
Buckeyes fans have been plotting Big Ten domination since Meyer took the job in December, assuming that it will begin next season when Ohio State gets sprung from the NCAA penalty box.
Why wait? Quarterback Braxton Miller (161 yards rushing, 207 passing) looks as if he was born to run Meyer's spread offense. Surely, there are already Buckeyes fans wondering if their team can finish the season unbeaten and No. 1 in the AP poll, whose panel can vote for teams on probation.
The Wolverines started the season with their best ranking in the AP poll since 2007. That year, they lost to Appalachian State.
The loss to Alabama won't go down in history, but it did knock the Wolverines down 11 spots to No. 19 in the rankings.
Adding a little injury to the insult, the Wolverine also lost top cornerback Blake Countess for the season with a torn knee ligament during the game. Though the good news for Michigan was star quarterback Denard Robinson came home in one piece, despite some scary moments.
Life gets easier for Michigan this week when Air Force visits the Big House.
IN AND OUT
Everybody's favorite — or least favorite depending upon your perspective — BCS buster is out of the rankings for the first time since 2008.
Boise State started the season No. 24, but its rebuilt offense couldn't muster a touchdown in a 17-13 loss at Michigan State, and it cost the Broncos their ranking streak. Boise State had appeared in 62 straight polls, which was the second-best current streak behind Alabama.