TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Crimson Tide were in need of a signature win, and on Saturday night in Baton Rouge, La., they got it. Alabama beat then-No. 5 LSU for its first top-10 win of the season.
The result? The gap between the University of Alabama and the rest of the pack has widened.
Alabama (9-0, 6-0) held strong at No. 1 in the BCS standings after surviving a 21-17 win over LSU on the road. Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Georgia round out the top five.
The Crimson Tide are No. 1 in the Harris Interactive College Football Poll and USA Today coaches’ poll, which are the other two pieces of the BCS standings formula. Alabama is also ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll.
Yesterday's win over LSU was enough for the computer rankings to move Alabama from No. 3 to No. 1. UA's cumulative strength of schedule is the 33rd toughest in the country.
Alabama's resume includes four solid victories, three coming away from Bryant-Denny Stadium:
a 41-14 win versus Michigan
a 44-13 win at Tennessee
a 38-7 win over No. 21 Mississippi State
a 21-17 win at No. 7 LSU
Alabama still has one regular-season game remaining against an opponent in the top 20 of the BCS standings: Saturday at home against No. 15 Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2).
Alabama can secure the SEC West crown with a win over A&M. The Aggies are coming off arguably their most compelling win of the season, throttling the No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs 38-13 on the road in Starkville.
Texas A&M has fared well in its inaugural season in the SEC. With freshman Johnny Manziel under center, the Aggies have put together a top-10 offense in yards and points per game.
Alabama also has games against a pair of sub-.500 teams in Western Carolina (1-9) and Auburn (2-7).
If Alabama were to make it to the SEC Championship Game, it would likely face No. 6 Georgia, who can secure the SEC West crown with a win over Auburn on Saturday.