Brian Kelly

Alabama back on top of playoff picture, motivated by a bad memory, and that spells trouble for everyone else

Alabama back on top of playoff picture, motivated by a bad memory, and that spells trouble for everyone else

There seems to be a chip on Alabama’s shoulder these days — and maybe that should worry the rest of college football.

It’s not only that the most dominant program in the nation over the past decade has reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Crimson Tide also has some motivation stemming from last season’s loss to Clemson in the national championship game. As senior defensive back Anthony Averett put it: “We’re all about finishing this year.”

Hunger for revenge has pushed Averett and his teammates through a string of injuries on defense and last week’s close call at No. 16 Mississippi State. It has helped them remain undefeated in a season roiled...

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