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Perspective

More on the specifics of LSU's win directly, but first some poll-watching and history.
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LSU did indeed cruise to victory in the AP poll, somewhat surprisingly (given the speculation on behalf of Southern Cal and Georgia) crushing any and all overtures to another split championship with 60 of the press' 65 first place votes - Georgia followed with three, USC got only one and the BCS conference team with the best winning percentage, Kansas, got the last one, though the Jayhawks finished seventh overall, behind six teams with more losses. Your non-LSU pollsters:

Georgia Scott Wolf (L.A. Daily News)
Adam Van Brimmer (Savannah, Ga., Morning News-Augusta)
Pete DiPrimio (Ft. Wayne, Ind., News-Sentinel)
So. Cal Rodney McKissic (The Buffalo, NY, News)
Kansas Israel Gutierrez (The Miami Herald)
Van Brimmer is the only voter from the state of Georgia; Gutierrez must have been quite impressed with the Jayhawks' Orange Bowl win in person. All AP ballots here.

LSU is the first of 104 consensus or split poll champions since the AP ballot was introduced in 1934 - and you can apply this to the silly "retroactive championships" awarded by various services in the 66 seasons prior to the media polls, too - to be voted at the top of any final mainstream media or coaches poll with two regular season losses. The only other twice-defeated mythical champ was Minnesota in 1960, which won the AP and UPI titles before the Gophers lost the Rose Bowl to Washington, at which point they had only one loss. Many, many, many jilted one-loss teams through the years (and more than a few undefeated ones, at that, especially from Auburn) must be stewing today in these Tigers' fortune to emerge from the rubble of unprecedented attrition.

Hawaii, for the record, was nineteenth, ahead of a pack of four-loss BCS conference teams but behind soaring Michigan, up to No. 18 after finishing outside of the final regular season poll. The Wolverines were 15 spots ahead of Appalachian State, which came in with five points in the "also receiving votes" category, the same number as one-time No. 2 South Florida.