Top 25 Reality Tests: Fallout from a Rare Loss in Alabama |

Alabama rarely loses and seems to change the shape of the season when it does.

The Crimson Tide earned an L mark on Saturday in Tennessee which propelled the Volunteers to third in the AP top 25 Provided by Regions Bank. The Vols received 15 first-place votes, the most they’ve received since 1999.

After falling on the goal with the expiration of time, the Crimson Tide has fallen three times to sixth, slipping 40 consecutive polls into the top five. Alabama is the highest ranked team that lost.

The tide won a few games I decided in the last seconds This season before one is allowed to escape, so it is understandable that some AP voters – and fans – are seeing a trend that could lead to more losses.

But Alabama has only lost several regular season games (excluding the conference championships) in one season twice (2010 and 2019) since 2008.

Perhaps most impressive is how difficult it is to keep the tides out in the regular season. On 13 regular season losses during that period, the average margin was 5.4 points.

There were two double-digit losses, none over 14, and three on field goals, including the last two.

Reality Check warns against making any major statements about the long-term health of the Alabama breed, which is fine with the short tides falling.

No. 1 Georgia (7-0)

Next: Against Florida, October 29 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Reality check: It was two quiet weeks for TE Brock Bowers (six catches for 51 yards). Expect that to change as games get more and more difficult along the way.

Rank: Just right.

No. 2 Ohio State (6-0)

Next: Against Iowa, Saturday.

Reality check: CJ Stroud ceded Heisman’s top spot (whatever it’s worth in October) to Hendon Hooker of Tennessee, but plenty of time and bigger challenges remained for the Buckeyes quarterback.

Rating: very high.

No. 3 Tennessee (6-0)

Next: v. Tennessee Martin, Saturday.

Reality check: Vols’ offensive style, fast paced and plenty of explosive plays put extra pressure on his defense. It’s weak, but holds up well to running (2.93 yards per carry) and won’t stand up to many opponents that are designed to exploit weaknesses.

Rating: must be 2.

No. 4 Michigan (7-0)

Next: Against Michigan State, Oct. 29.

Reality check: The Wolverines’ offensive line advances for a second consecutive Joe Moore award, led by Virginia C Olu Oluwatimi’s move.

Rating: Good condition for Wolverines to be ahead of the Buckeyes.

No. 5 Clemson (7-0)

Next: Against No. 14 Syracuse, Saturday.

Reality check: The Tigers haven’t quite started a running game yet, but RB Will Shipley had his best game (120 yards in 20 campaigns) this season against a Power Five competitor against Florida State.

Rank: Just right.

No. 6 Alabama (6-1)

Next: Against Mississippi State No. 24, Saturday.

Reality check: Penalties (9.4 per game, 129th in the nation) and referrals (minus 5 margin). The tide was sloppy but also outperformed his opponent in every match.

Rank: Just right.

No. 7 Mississippi (7-0)

Next: At LSU, Saturday.

Reality check: Can the Rebels’ stunning and versatile running match – three 100-yard sprints against Auburn – keep them undefeated until Alabama comes to Oxford on November 12?

Rank: a little high.

No. 8 TCU (6-0)

Next: Against No. 17 Kansas State, Saturday.

Reality check: Horned Frogs get the fourth opponent in a row and the difficulty of each game increases. Can they keep up with the intensity?

Rating: a little low.

No. 9 UCLA (6-0)

Next: At No. 10 Oregon, Saturday.

Reality check: The Duke WR Jake Bobo transfer (five touchdowns and 16 yards per catch) was one of the best gate additions in the Pac-12.

Rating: Feeling high, but we’ll know for sure this week.

No. 10 Oregon (5-1)

Next: Against No. 9 UCLA, Saturday.

Reality check: Since Georgia allowed 9.2 yards per game, the Ducks kept their next five opponents under 6.0. That’s a long way from being dominant, but it’s powerful.

Rank: Around the right.

No. 11 Oklahoma State (5-1)

Next: Against Texas No. 20, Saturday.

Reality check: QB Spencer Sanders has made a promising start to the season, but has completed less than half of his passes in his last two games.

Rating: very high.

No. 12 Southern California (6-1)

Next: In Arizona, Oct. 29.

Reality check: Without sacks and shifts, Trojan’s pass-through defense had no solutions against Utah. And now USC has to worry about WR Jordan Addison’s (lower body) health.

Rank: Around the right.

No. 13 Wake Forest (5-1)

Next: Opposite Boston College, Saturday.

Reality check: The drop conversion rate in the red (64%) needs improvement as the Deacs enter the tough November schedule.

Rating: That’s good.

No. 14 Syracuse (6-0)

Next: At No. 5 Clemson, Sat.

Reality check: Oronde Gadsen II may be the most valuable receiver in the country for his team. The son of the former NFL receiver has more than twice as many reception yards (507) than the next best in Syracuse.

Rank: a little high.

No. 15 Utah (5-2)

Next: In Washington State, Oct. 27.

REALITY CHECK: Huge matches by QB Cam Rising and TE Dalton Kincaid against USC defending champion Pac-12 gave control on their way to a fourth appearance in the conference title in the past five years.

Rating: a little low.

No. 16 Pennsylvania (5-1)

Next: vs. Minnesota, Saturday.

Reality check: Nittany Lions has been roughed up by Michigan in a way that makes fans question the direction of the show. It doesn’t have to be fair, but after two poor consecutive seasons, patience is weak.

Rank: a little high.

No. 17 Kansas (5-1)

Next: At No. 8 TCU, Saturday.

Reality check: DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah is tied for the national leader in sacks per game (1.08), but is still underrated nationally while he was one of the top players in the Big 12.

Rank: Around the right.

No. 18 Illinois (6-1)

Next: v. Nebraska, Oct. 29.

Reality check: Only two teams have allowed five touchdowns in seven games: Georgia and Illinois. Ileni’s defense was a force.

Rating: a little low.

No. 19 Kentucky (5-2)

Next: At No. 3 Tennessee, Oct. 29.

Reality check: Having both QB Will Levis and RB Chris Rodriguez in lineup and health resulted in the Wildcats’ best offensive game of the season against Mississippi State.

Ranking: It’s hard to tell if wild cats are ranked or lower.

No. 20 Texas (5-2)

Next: At No. 11 Oklahoma State, Saturday.

Reality check: QB Quinn Ewers has had seven touchdown passes and one interception in two games since returning from a shoulder injury.

Rating: a little low.

No. 21 Cincinnati (5-1)

Next: At SMU, Saturday.

Reality check: The best full-back in the country? Perhaps Evan Pace Jr., who leads the nation in tackles for a loss at a rate of 2.25 per game.

Rank: Just right.

No. 22 North Carolina (6-1)

Next: v. Pittsburgh, Oct. 29.

Reality check: QB Drake Maye is tied for the national lead with 24 touchdown passes and may be the best quarterback in the ACC as a first-year rookie.

Rank: Just right.

No. 23 North Carolina (5-2)

Next: against Virginia Tech, Oct. 27.

Reality check: QB Devin Leary will miss the rest of the season after shoulder surgery. Wolfbeck’s insult was inconsistent with him and she was in really bad shape without him in Syracuse.

Rating: Without Leary, that’s pretty high.

No. 24 Mississippi (5-2)

Next: At No. 6 Alabama, Saturday.

Reality check: The Bulldogs shine a light on what a top 15 team looks like, but can’t stand it.

Rating: That’s good.

No. 25 Tulane (6-1)

Next: Against Memphis, Saturday

Reality check: The stingy defense ranked 11th in the country in yards per game (4.68), and the Green Wave ranked first in 24 years.

Rank: Sure, you’re welcome.

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