Only Alabama can stem Tide

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,College,Brian McNally

No matter how good a program you have, there are not many challenges bigger than winning a road game at LSU. But No. 1 Alabama may have found one this week. It has to put behind it a comeback victory so emotional that its own quarterback was in tears.

The Crimson Tide, winner of two of the last three BCS national titles, are in position to win yet another after their 21-17 win over the Tigers in Death Valley. But will the effort it took to win that game with just 51 seconds remaining prove too much?

Alabama needs to beat No. 15 Texas A&M on Saturday. The Aggies are 7-2 overall and 4-2 in their inaugural season in the SEC. They are no pushovers, and quarterback Johnny Manziel is already making a name for himself as a fringe Heisman Trophy candidate as a redshirt freshman. Alabama's offense should do better against Texas A&M than it did against a stout LSU defense. But can it keep the Aggies' no-huddle offense in check?

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban told reporters Monday that wins like the one at LSU "can bring out either the best in you or the worst in you. It's all your choice."

Alabama is 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the league. If it can take care of business this week, then the only games left on its regular-season schedule are Western Carolina (2-7) and rival Auburn (2-7) before the SEC title game. Other BCS contenders like Notre Dame (No. 21 USC), Oregon (No. 16 Stanford, No. 13 Oregon State) and Kansas State (No. 19 Texas) all have ranked opponents left. The Ducks could see a third ranked team in either USC or No. 17 UCLA in the Pac-12 title game.

- Brian McNally

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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