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_ Would you consider voting another team _ ie Oklahoma State or Stanford _ No. 1?

Forty-four of the 60 voters responded, and the bottom line is that there still is some wiggle room.

The most common answer was some version of what Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area wrote in an email: “Anything is a possibility among the top 3. And should be. Otherwise, why would we bother?”

Some were more adamant about where they stood.

Eleven voters said the winner of the BCS championship game will no doubt be their No. 1.

“If Alabama wins, I’m voting the Tide (hash)1,” wrote Garland Gillen of WWL-TV in New Orleans. “Championships are won in January not November.”

Three voters, however, said that in a system that stresses the importance of the regular season and without a playoff to decide who’s No. 1 at the end, LSU already has earned their votes.

“I will vote for LSU no matter what happens in the National Championship game,” wrote Erik Gee of KNML-AM in Albuquerque, N.M. “How in the world can they be the SEC west champ, the outright SEC champ, and lose to Alabama in a “neutral” site game (I guess you can debate the Superdome being a neutral site) after they have already beaten them in Tuscaloosa, have the series split 1-1 and not at least have a share of the National Title?”

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.

Story Continues →