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AP voters who took Georgia, Ohio State No. 1 explain votes

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Will Todd Gurley and Georgia make one AP voter look like a genius? (USATSI)
Will Todd Gurley and Georgia make one AP voter look like a genius? (USATSI)
The AP preseason top 25 was released Saturday, and there are Madagascan beetles who could have told you who'd end up at No. 1. When the defending national champions return great heaping mounds of talent on both sides of the ball and face arguably the weakest schedule in the SEC, it's awfully, awfully hard to vote against them -- which is why Alabama ended up just two votes shy of being a unanimous choice.

But if the Crimson Tide were that obvious at No. 1, why did those two voters -- Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette, and Gannett Newspapers LSU beat reporter Glenn Guilbeau -- elect to vote for someone else?

Each voter has since explained his vote to other outlets, with Asmussen telling the Cleveland Plain-Dealer he thinks Ohio State is due to end the SEC's reign of terror, and Guilbeau telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he feels Georgia will benefit when the burden of winning a third consecutive national title proves too heavy, even for the Tide.

“Georgia easily could have won it all last year and they return most of their offense and [Aaron] Murray from that team," Guilbeau said. "And ... I just think it might be their turn. I think that's what happens; sometimes it's just a team's turn.”

Guilbeau further clarified on WJOX Birmingham radio Monday morning that "the odds are against Alabama doing it again. I think Georgia will get this year's breaks."

As for Asmussen, making a controversial choice at No. 1 -- and a Big Ten-friendly choice at that -- is nothing new; he voted Michigan No. 1 in 2012 AP preseason poll. But he says it's now high time a team from outside the SEC took home the crystal football.

“Someone has to beat the SEC at some point. Why not the Buckeyes?” he said. "I've got to start with the quarterback ... [Braxton Miller] is great, and I think he puts them over the top. And the schedule is so good, other than the final game against Michigan.

"And let's face it, Urban really is a phenomenal coach. He's proven it time after time."

Unlike last year's Michigan vote, however, this time Asmussen isn't alone in liking the Buckeyes over the Tide. Three Coaches Poll voters took Ohio State over the Tide in their preseason balloting, and CBSSports.com's own Dennis Dodd ranked the Buckeyes No. 1 in his preseason top 25.

If the Buckeyes do win the last-ever BCS title, Asmussen (and Dodd, and those anonymous coaches) will look like geniuses, Guilbeau even moreso if the Dawgs pull it off. And it's very much worth noting that AP preseason No. 1's rarely live up to that billing; only four teams in the last 30 years that began the season No. 1 finished the season in the same spot. Statistiscally speaking, you're much more likely to pick the national champion by picking a team that's not No. 1, rather than following along with the consensus.

But Alabama is Alabama. Only time will tell if in this case, wisdom really does lie with the college football crowds.

 
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