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Four pollsters vote Oklahoma State No. 1, while one gives LSU nod in final AP Top 25

Alabama's Trent Richardson celebrates after the BCS National Championship game against LSU on Monday. But there were still members of the media who didn't vote Alabama as the No. 1 team in the country.

Alabama's Trent Richardson celebrates after the BCS National Championship game against LSU on Monday. But there were still members of the media who didn't vote Alabama as the No. 1 team in the country.

NEW ORLEANS — Alabama’s convincing victory in the BCS Championship wasn’t enough to convince all 60 Associated Press college football poll voters that the Crimson Tide is No. 1.

Four members of the media panel had Oklahoma State at No. 1, and Erik Gee, of KNML-AM in Albuquerque, N.M., picked LSU — as he said he would before the game.

“I was a lot closer than I thought I would be to changing my mind,” Gee said during a telephone interview Tuesday. “I don’t think I necessarily felt good about voting for LSU. But I also didn’t feel good about voting for Alabama. I stared at the computer for 10 minutes. It wasn’t an easy decision.”

Alabama (12-1) was an overwhelming No. 1 in the final Top 25, receiving 55 votes. LSU (13-1), which beat Alabama, 9-6, in overtime on the road in November and played a much tougher schedule than the Tide, finished second and Oklahoma State (12-1) was third.

The USA Today coaches’ poll had the same top three, but those voters are contractually obligated to put the winner of the BCS title game No. 1 on their ballots. While there have been occasions when coaches have ignored the rule, it was not the case this season. Alabama received all 59 first-place votes.

Only once in the last five years has the final AP No. 1 been unanimous. Unbeaten Alabama received all 60 first-place votes after the 2009 season.

The Crimson Tide’s 21-0 victory Monday night at the Superdome didn’t sway Gee, but it did persuade two other AP voters who had said they expected to vote LSU (13-1) No. 1 even if the Tigers lost.

Former Albany Herald sportswriter Seth Emerson, now of The Macon Telegraph, was also leaning hard toward keeping LSU in the top spot.

“My thinking was I was going to keep the Tigers No. 1 unless they got trounced — and they did,” he said.

Emerson, however, ended up giving Oklahoma State his first-place vote, along with Matt Markey, of The Toledo Blade in Ohio, Steve Conroy, of the Boston Herald, and Scott Wolf, of the Los Angeles Daily News.

Emerson had Oklahoma State second and Alabama third in his final regular-season rankings, and said the Cowboys had done enough to stay ahead of the Tide after both won bowl games.

“OSU wins and drops a spot?” he questioned.

Gee said he gave LSU the top spot as a reward for “their full body of work.”

LSU won the SEC title by beating No. 19 Georgia in the league championship game, and won six games away from home, including wins over No. 4 Oregon and No. 17 West Virginia. None of the top three teams faced as tough a schedule. And the Tigers did split with Alabama.

Gee insisted this was not a protest vote against the BCS or a way to get attention.

“This was not a publicity stunt,” he said. “This is my opinion.”