Tide's qualifications on display

If Alabama makes it to the national title game, it will be the final drive on Saturday night that people remember. Everything one needs to know about the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide's championship makeup was on display when AJ McCarron and the Alabama offense took the field after an LSU missed field goal.

Down three points with less than two minutes remaining, McCarron marched to the end zone in Baton Rouge, La., for the game-winning score and continued its march through the SEC. Alabama's national championship hopes hinged on the drive, and the Crimson Tide delivered.

The final score -- Alabama 21, LSU 17 -- will be what the history books remember, what the pollsters think of when they vote for the No. 1 team in the country. The Crimson Tide survived their first real test of the season and a passing grade was all that mattered.

LSU landed the first haymaker, knocked Alabama down, and the world waited for Goliath to recover. But even on its worst day, Alabama found a way to win.

There were missed tackles and mistakes in execution for the Crimson Tide on Saturday night. At times, UA looked like anything but the No. 1 team in the country. There were three-and-outs followed by three-and-outs, and with every loss the crowd in Death Valley grew louder. One last gasp was all Alabama needed to recover.

Now, the onus is on the Tide to not let a hangover set in. One crisis was averted. Tempting fate with a second would be unwise.

Alabama welcomes in No. 16 Texas A&M to Tuscaloosa, Ala., next weekend, and the Aggies won't be a sigh of relief.

Texas A&M is coming off arguably its most complete game of the season, throttling No. 15 Mississippi State 38-13 on the road in Starkville, Miss. Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel accounted for more than 400 yards of offense in the game.

The Aggies' high-scoring offense will test an Alabama defense that looked vulnerable against LSU. The missed tackles that plagued the Tide in Baton Rouge will need fixing by the time Kevin Sumlin's bunch comes to Bryant-Denny Stadium.

If Alabama is able to get past Texas A&M , the road gets easier, as home dates against Western Carolina (1-9) and Auburn (2-7) follow. Only a trip to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Dec. 1 would stand between the Tide and a trip to Miami for the national title game.

If No. 6 Georgia is able to beat Auburn next weekend, the Bulldogs will secure the SEC East crown and a spot in the league championship game.