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NCAAF: Tide Tops AP Poll for Record Ninth Time

The Crimson Tide of Alabama successfully defended their national championship Monday Night against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. On Tuesday, the last AP poll of the season was released. Alabama was named the No. 1 team in the poll for the 9th time, a new national record. The Tide has been named by the AP as national champion more times than any other collegiate football team in the U.S.

Notre Dame entered Monday’s game as the No. 1 ranked team but after suffering a humiliating defeat 42-14, the Irish fell to No. 4 in the nation. Entering Monday’s game, the Tide was tied with Notre Dame with 8 national titles from the AP. However Alabama was able to defeat Notre Dame to win the national title for two straight seasons. Notre Dame is the only other team to accomplish the same feat and did that between 1946 and 1949.

Senior Nico Johnson, a linebacker on the Tide, said it was incredible to play for three national title teams during his career at Alabama. While legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant coached Alabama, the Tide won five titles in 25 years. In 1992, Gene Stallings led Alabama to another national championship. Nick Saban now has three titles in only six seasons as the coach of Alabama.

Alabama received all of the 59 first place votes in the final AP poll of this season. Alabama was ranked No. 2 to start the season and held the top spot for 10 weeks before Texas A&M knocked them off their perch in November. However, for the second consecutive season, the Tide defeated the No. 1 team in the final game to end up national champion.

Finishing No. 2 in the poll were the Oregon Ducks, which matched the highest ranking they have had to end a season. Oregon finished No. 2 in the nation in 2001. The only team to finish the season undefeated, the Ohio State Buckeyes, finished No. 3. Ohio State was banned from participating in the postseason due to NCAA sanctions. Tying for fifth after Notre Dame were Texas A&M and Georgia.

Alabama became the seventh consecutive team from the SEC to end the season ranked No. 1. The conference continues to be the toughest in college football. The SEC became the first conference to ever have five of its teams finish in the Top 10 in the final AP rankings.

Joining Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M in the top 10 were South Carolina at No. 8 and the Florida Gators at No. 9. The Texas A&M Aggies completed their first season as a SEC team and finished the highest for the football program in the final rankings since 1956.

The SEC also matched an AP record with seven of its members finishing in the Top 25 in the last AP rankings. The LSU Tigers completed their season ranked no. 14, while Vanderbilt ended No. 23. In 1999, the SEC along with the Big Ten each had seven teams in the Top 25 final rankings.

Completing the top 10 was Stanford at No. 7 and Florida State at No. 10.

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