As Oregon was finishing off Stanford last Saturday night, many members in the college football media wanted to debate the nation’s next best team after LSU and Oklahoma State. The Ducks were impressive in that win over the Cardinal, but it’s the same squad that was dismantled by LSU. Alabama lost in overtime to the Bengal Tigers, and the Tide has the best defense in the nation. But some are now saying that LaMichael James and Oregon may have surpassed the Tide. Oklahoma is still in the conversation, but the home loss to a very mediocre Texas Tech club seems to clearly put the Sooners behind Alabama and Oregon. Arkansas is up there as well, but the Hogs were destroyed by the Tide for their only loss. Some in ACC country may even argue that Clemson and Virginia Tech deserve consideration.
Who is the best 1-loss team in the nation?
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Alabama is the best one-loss team in the nation. In fact, the Crimson Tide might be the best team in the nation, period, but it's kind of hard to make that argument since they lost at home to LSU. Alabama gets the nod over teams like Oklahoma and Oregon because of its defense, which is the best in the nation — and it’s not even close. Nick Saban’s club is allowing an average of 181.4 yards per game and 3.15 yards per play. Next on the list, in both categories, is LSU at 253.2 yards per game and 4.01 yards per play. Those are astounding gaps between No. 1 and No. 2 in the national rankings for both categories. And it’s not like Alabama is weak on the offensive side of the ball. The Tide rank 35th in the nation in total offense (434.2 ypg) and 25th in scoring offense (34.5 ppg). They boast arguably the top running back in the nation in junior Trent Richardson, and the offensive line is among the best in college football, as well. Other than the kicking game, which was an issue in the loss to LSU, Alabama is a team with very few weaknesses.
Any team whose only loss is to LSU deserves mention as the best one-loss team in the nation. That list consists of Oregon (40–27 loss at Cowboys Stadium in the season-opener on Sept. 3), Alabama (9–6 loss in overtime in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 5) and soon-to-be Oklahoma State (pending a loss in the BCS national title game in New Orleans on Jan. 9). Aside from my man Mike Gundy's currently-undefeated Cowboys — who, in all seriousness, I do think could defeat even a full-strength Oklahoma squad and will give the Bayou Bengals a serious battle for the BCS crystal — Chip Kelly's Ducks and Nick Saban's Crimson Tide are in a league of their own compared to their one-loss peers from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Stanford, Boise State and Southern Miss. But when debating West Coast highlighter vs. Deep South houndstooth, the choice is clear. Oregon is a much better squad than it was in the opener; but Alabama remains arguably the most complete team — roster and coaching staff combined — in the country. If there were a college football playoff, the Tide would be the pre-tourney Vegas favorite. Bama is by far the best one-loss team in the nation.
A.J. Jacobson – DuckSportsAuthority.com (@AJ_Jacobson)
The 2011 Oregon Ducks opened the season very young, but it still took a -3 turnover margin and the best team in college football — the LSU Tigers — to hand Chip Kelly’s group their only loss. Oregon’s latest 23-point win on the road against Stanford is clear indication of this team’s trajectory. The Ducks are third in the nation in scoring offense, fifth in rushing and eighth in total offense. Since losing to LSU, Oregon has won nine straight games and every one of them has been by at least 15 points. The Ducks should continue their current dominance against USC this weekend and should be considered to best 1-loss team.
Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
Since I still think that Alabama is the best team in the nation, I would have to say the Crimson Tide. But there are a lot of other teams I would not want to play right now. Oklahoma might be the second-best team in the nation, but cannot stay healthy. Oregon is on a roll offensively. Virginia Tech is rounding into one of the more complete teams in the nation behind the development of Logan Thomas. Two teams I would not want to play in my conference title game (talking to you Michigan State and LSU) is the Georgia Bulldogs or the Wisconsin Badgers — both of whom are wildly underrated in the polls. Clemson, Boise State, Stanford and Arkansas are on a lower tier in my opinion but are all tough outs as well. All of that said, I would not pick any of them to beat Alabama.
Josh McCuistionSoonerScoop.com (@JLMcCuistion)
Oklahoma's case is simple, it's collection of quality wins particularly away from Norman with road trips to Kansas State and Florida State and the annual battle in Dallas with Texas is something no one-loss team can match. Add in a potential win over Oklahoma State and they've also got the second best single-game win of the year by anyone.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
I understand the argument that Oregon has improved from the start of the season, but I don’t think the Ducks would score 20 points against Alabama. That’s the scoring range of the UO offense the last two times the Ducks played SEC defenses — also their last two losses — and Alabama’s group is even better. The Tide did lose in overtime to LSU, but Oregon was never in it against the Bengal Tigers. Chip Kelly’s crew added a meaningless touchdown with 13 seconds to go just to cut it to a 40-27 loss in the opener. Too many college football media members seem to thrive on creating controversy instead of analyzing what’s happening on the field. There is no controversy here — Alabama is the best 1-loss team in the country.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I think the best one-loss team in college football is Alabama. There’s a lot to like about this team, but the defense is simply the best in college football. The Crimson Tide have allowed no opponent to score more than 14 points in a game this year and rank first nationally in rush, total, scoring and pass defense. While the offense isn’t flashy, it’s certainly effective. Trent Richardson is one of the top running backs (if not the best) in the nation. He has rushed for 100 yards in every conference game except two this year (LSU and Tennessee), while posting 18 touchdowns and catching 25 passes for 318 yards. Alabama could have easily beaten LSU two weeks ago and taken the top spot in the polls. I’m not sure the Crimson Tide will get a shot to play for the national title, but if LSU is No. 1, then Alabama has to be No. 1-B.