BALLOT BREAKDOWN: Contenders cry, ‘We want Bama!’

Breaking down The Associated Press college football poll after

Week 10 of the regular season.


Oregon fans printed it on T-shirts. Florida State fans chanted

it. ”We want Bama!”

Alabama has been No. 1 all season, and the two-time defending

national champion has given little reason to believe this season’s

title race won’t go through it. If the Crimson Tide takes care of

its business and goes unbeaten through the Southeastern Conference

title game, it’ll be off to Pasadena, Calif., in January for a

fourth BCS championship game in five years.

The Ducks and Seminoles have been impressive enough to sway a

few AP poll voters to have them atop their ballots.

In the latest Top 25, Alabama received a season-low 52

first-place votes. Oregon got two and Florida State received a

season-best six firsts from the media panel Sunday after another

easy victory over a previously unbeaten team. This time it was

Miami, which was routed by the `Noles to the tune of 41-14 in

Tallahassee on Saturday night.

After the game, Florida State defensive linemen Timmy Jernigan

was asked about the ”We want Bama!” chants and told USA Today,

”We do.”

Well, sure. The Seminoles and Ducks still have more

regular-season business to take care of, but at this point they are

competing against each as much as the teams they’re lining up

against. And if the goal is to be No. 1, the way to get there is to

beat Alabama.

The chants and shirts seem to rankle some Tide fans, who

generally respond with some combination of `be careful what you

wish for’ and `don’t you have more important things to do, like

beating the remaining teams on your schedule?’

While on the surface Alabama is the target of Oregon and Florida

State fans’ desires, really they might as well be yelling at each


”We want `Bama.”

”No, WE want Bama.”

Surely, Ohio State fans would chime in, too.

Alabama fans should probably take it as a compliment. It’s good

to be wanted. Nobody chants, ”We want Florida!” or ”We want

Nebraska!” these days.


Michigan State jumped six spots to No. 18 in the rankings after

putting a brutal beating on Michigan

The Spartans’ defense put a relentless pounding on Michigan

quarterback Devin Gardner and the rest of the Wolverines in the

29-6 victory. Michigan had minus-48 yards rushing, a number built

on sacks and a bad snap, but not the slightest bit misleading.

Michigan State was pushing Michigan backward just about all


”You never think you’re going to be that good,” defensive

coordinator Pat Narduzzi said about the Michigan game, though might

as well have been talking about the whole season.

Statistically, Michigan State’s defense is the best in the

nation and it’s not even close. The Spartans are allowing 3.47

yards per play. No other team is under 4.0. Their average per game

yield is 210.2 yards. Next best is Louisville at 244.5. The

Spartans are allowing 43.4 yards rushing per game, almost half as

much as the next best. They are also they only defense allowing

less than 2.6 yards per rush. Michigan State is at 1.62.

The numbers are inflated some by the competition. Michigan State

has played only one team that ranks in the upper half of the

125-team FBS, Indiana. But it should be noted: the Hoosiers average

511 yards per game. They had 351 against Denicos Allen, Max

Bullough, Darqueze Dennard and Shilique Calhoun and company.


Miami dropped seven spots to No. 14 after getting blown out by

Florida State, but that is the least of the Hurricanes’


Star running back Duke Johnson was injured and will miss the

season with a broken ankle. Miami will be without top receiver

Phillip Dorsett because of a knee injury for at least a few more

weeks. And as big as the Florida State game was, the next game is

actually even bigger for the Hurricanes.

Miami plays Virginia Tech at home on Saturday. A loss by Miami

would give the `Canes and Hokies the same amount of ACC losses, and

Virginia Tech the tiebreaker. The Hurricanes play at Duke in two

weeks, and the Blue Devils could also be in the hunt for a Coastal

Division crown.


Michigan fell out of the rankings again after losing to Michigan

State for the fifth time in six seasons. No. 24 Notre Dame replaced

the Wolverines.


Three games matching top-12 teams in Week 11 should provide some

clarity in the national title race.

– No. 10 LSU is at No. 1 Alabama on Saturday.

– No. 2 Oregon is at No. 6 Stanford on Thursday night.

– No. 12 Oklahoma is at No. 5 Baylor on Thursday night.

AP Sports Writer Noah Trister in East Lansing, Mich.,

contributed to this report.

Follow Ralph D. Russo at