Alabama Football: 3 Reasons the Crimson Tide Deserve Nation's No. 1 Ranking

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 01:  T.J. Yeldon #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs the ball against Jake Ryan #90 of the Michigan Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Alabama entered the season behind Southern California in both major college football polls, but it took them just one game to overcome that deficit.

ESPN reported on Tuesday that the Tide are the new No. 1 team. Trojans players, coaches and fans all may be frustrated, but Alabama earned the top spot in their Week 1 drubbing of the Michigan Wolverines.

Let's take a look at three reasons that the Tide were worthy of the jump.


Win Over Top 10 Team

You may think that Michigan was overrated entering its Week 1 tilt against Alabama, but the fact remains. The Wolverines were the No. 8 squad in the nation entering Saturday night's primetime contest, and Alabama stomped them.

This game wasn't close, and I'm sure you know that by now.

The Crimson Tide dominated the Wolverines in every conceivable way. They frustrated their star quarterback and put their electric freshman running back on full display.

Meanwhile, USC beat on Hawaii. I don't care if Timmy Chang or Colt Brennan was back behind center, it's not an even match. The Trojans win was impressive, but Hawaii didn't bring much to the table.

Rankings matter very little at this point, but the Trojans deserved a small step back based on strength of schedule in their season opener.


Team Effort

Let's go away from BCS criteria for a moment, but also consider Michigan's ranking.

The Crimson Tide manhandled Michigan, and everyone was in on the effort.

A.J. McCarron was able to find DeAndrew White for a touchdown. Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon both touted the rock with ferocity, and the Tide's All-American group up front mauled Michigan's defensive line.

Defensively, Nico Johnson and DeMarcus Milliner each intercepted Denard Robinson. The Tide's entire group played with the tenacity that you have to expect from any group Nick Saban coaches, and they did it from start to finish.

I watched both games. Alabama's effort was stunning, and it showed through on all levels.

If you want to talk about passing the eye test, Alabama showed 20/20 vision Saturday night.


Defending Champion

USC is the sexy pick to win the BCS National Championship this season, but that doesn't negate what Alabama accomplished last season.

Alabama is the defending champion of college football. They did lose multiple starters on both sides of the ball, but this team is still very good on paper.

Their Week 1 victory reaffirmed their dominance. Programs like this don't rebuild, they reload, and the Tide showed that in impressive form on Saturday.

This doesn't take anything away from the Trojans, but Alabama must be given the benefit of the doubt at this point. They are showing no lag from last season, and that makes the idea of a repeat a very real possibility.

The rankings will undoubtedly shuffle before the end of the season, but the Tide deserve the top spot as of now.