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Harris Poll voters explain why they had Oklahoma State No. 2 or No. 3

OSU IN THE BCS — When the BCS standings were released Sunday, Oklahoma State was a mere .0086 behind No. 2 Alabama. The Oklahoman asked several Harris Poll voters, the only human voters that affect the BCS standings, why they had OSU and Alabama where they did in their polls.
COMPILED BY BERRY TRAMEL, Staff Writer, Published: December 4, 2011

GEORGE SCHROEDER, Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard

1. LSU; 2. OSU; 3. Alabama; 4. Stanford; 5. Oregon.

What Schroeder said about his vote: “Both arguments (for OSU and Alabama) are good. At some point, you have to choose. Or I did. Was Oklahoma State's late, emphatic statement enough to change enough voters' minds? I changed mine, moving the Cowboys from No. 3 last week to No. 2 today. I would have considered moving OSU from three to two regardless — the resume is better than Alabama's — but that made it an easier decision.

“Alabama's lack of a conference or even division title was a factor, though not a huge factor. But the rematch wasn't part of my calculations.”

BLAIR KERKHOFF, Kansas City Star

1. LSU; 2. OSU; 3. Alabama; 4. Stanford; 5. Oregon.

What Kerkhoff said about his vote: “I have OSU second because of entire body of work and its role as champion of what ratings say is nation's toughest conference.

“The idea of a rematch had no impact on my vote. I lined up OSU, Alabama and Stanford and judged Oklahoma State to have the best credentials, by a razor-thin edge over Alabama.”

MIKE PRATER, Idaho Statesman

1. LSU; 2. Alabama; 3. OSU; 4. Oregon; 5. Stanford.

What Prater said about his vote: “The battle for two and three came down to what I know for certain -- comparing the losses, which means Alabama (to LSU) gets the nod over Oklahoma State (to Iowa State). I tried to remove the speculation and the eye-ball test and stick to fact.

“Rematch consequences didn't matter — I tried to pick what I thought were the two best teams in the country.”

DREW CHAMPLIN, Dothan (Ala.) Eagle

1. LSU; 2. Alabama; 3. OSU; 4. Stanford; 5. Oregon.

What Champlin said about his vote: “I had OSU here last week, because I thought OSU was better than the teams below it but not as good as Alabama, and both teams have one loss and are from major conferences and played tough schedules. I certainly thought about (flopping Alabama and OSU) but again didn't believe that Alabama deserved to drop. Both teams played 12 games. To me, Alabama passes the eye test more, and it's not like they are a two-loss team or OSU is still unbeaten. Alabama's loss wasn't as bad. OSU may have wins over Texas and Missouri, but Alabama's wins against Auburn, Mississippi State and Florida shouldn't be discounted because those teams were down record-wise. I'd put their defenses up to par against the ones OSU faced. There probably is no right answer to all of this, but that's the one I have.

“Wins over your rivals are always impressive. Even when Alabama went to the national championship game in 2009, its closest games were against Auburn and Tennessee. I think even if OSU had won a close game over OU, the push for the Cowboys would still be about the same. What I wonder is this: flip-flop the schedules around, and say OSU beats OU two weeks ago, but loses to Iowa State yesterday? The perception would be to push OSU aside and forget about what happened two weeks ago, right?

“I only think that LSU-Alabama would be the most competitive matchup. Games are played on the field, but the Vegas point spread would be much bigger for an LSU-OSU game than an LSU-Alabama. Alabama's offense was only bad against LSU, but its defense was great against LSU and has been all year long except for against a different style of offense that Georgia Southern provides and that was the week before playing Auburn.”