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Joe Giglio of The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., agreed.
"Unless Alabama absolutely dominates LSU and leaves no doubt that it is a superior football team, I will be voting for LSU," he said. "I am voting for the No. 1 team in the country for the 2011 season, not the result of one game. In the case of this rematch presented by the BCS, you have to consider the scope of the entire season, not the timing of one loss."
Oklahoma State probably helped voters narrow the field. The third-ranked Cowboys' 41-38 overtime victory against No. 4 Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl was thrilling but not the convincing performance they needed to swing the electorate their way.
In the final regular season AP rankings, LSU was a unanimous No. 1. The Tide received 38 second-place votes, 1,418 points and no votes lower than third. The Cowboys got 22 second-place votes and 1,400 points and two voters had Oklahoma State fourth.
Still, if the Tide beats LSU in less-than-convincing fashion, some voters will be torn between Oklahoma State (12-1) and Alabama (11-1).
"If Alabama and Oklahoma State both win, I'll have a hard time deciding between the two," said Kyle Ringo of the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colo. "Guess margin of victory might be the deciding factor. I'd probably lean toward OSU in that case because of its superior overall body of work."
As to be expected, the uncertainty has bumped up the annual calls for a playoff that would be better at settling these issues on the field. College football officials push back against that, citing a desire to protect the importance of the regular season and to avoid overextending student-athletes on the field and in the classroom.
That said, a four-team playoff, the so-called plus-one model, will at least be considered when BCS officials start looking toward the future of the system.
Meanwhile, the coaches in this year's BCS title see no ambiguity. It'll be winner take all Monday night.
"The opportunity to go play for the national championship is a completely different scenario" than a regular-season game, LSU coach Les Miles said after the game was set. "It's the same opponent. But it will be played with the title at stake."
And, of course, Alabama coach Nick Saban dismissed the topic, pointing out several times that when the New York Giants lost to the Patriots during the 2007 season, then beat the New England in the Super Bowl, there was no question who was the champion.
"He's right," wrote Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. "But guess what the Super Bowl comes and the end of? A PLAYOFF. As long as college football has no playoff, that comparison is apples and oranges."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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