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Meet the AP Top 25 Voter Who Picked Clemson No. 1 over Alabama and Ohio State

CLEMSON, SC - AUGUST 31:  Roderick McDowell #25 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs 38-35 at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2013

Doug Lesmerises wrote a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Tuesday, explaining the rationale behind his Week 2 AP ballot.

In the second paragraph, he writes, "I can't imagine I'm the only person who will be voting for Clemson as the No. 1 team in the country. But the Tigers won't get as many votes as they should."

Half of that was correct.

The Tigers didn't get as many AP votes as Lesmerises thought they should, but contrary to his imagination, he was the one and only person who voted them No. 1.

Other unorthodox picks on his ballot include:

  • LSU at No. 2 
  • Louisville at No. 4
  • Washington at No. 8
  • Ohio State (the team he covers) at No. 9
  • Bowling Green at No. 17
  • Notre Dame at No. 21

Lesmerises, as he explains in his column, is taking the approach of a pure meritocracy. He doesn't care about preseason hoopla or roster composition; the only thing that matters to him is how a team played in Week 1.

He explained as much by laying out his three balloting principles:

  • A team's ranking the week before doesn't matter. That especially holds true with the preseason poll, which is nothing more than a half-educated guess.
  • My ballot is a reflection of what happened, not a prediction of what will happen.
  • Results are what matters the most. So my top teams this week are the teams I thought had the best wins.

This isn't the first time Lesmerises has gone against the grain with his picks. He's always adhered to this system and seems to take pride in it.

In his column, he explains—if not revels in—how he was the only voter who didn't rank Alabama No. 1 in Week 9 last year (when he had Florida) and one of four who didn't have Florida No. 1 after Week 1 in 2009 (when he had Alabama).

How Lesmerises chooses to vote is his prerogative, and honestly, despite the semi-smug self-congratulating explained above, it's a little refreshing. Who cares if he voted Clemson No. 1, though? The case could certainly be made after last weekend.

Did you watch Alabama's offense against Virginia Tech?

Teams like LSU and Bowling Green made statements in Week 1, and Lesmerises thinks they should be rewarded for it. Some might complain that his theory is unfair, or that it's biased against teams who didn't play a strong opponent last weekend.

But so long as he adjusts accordingly in the following weeks, it's as fair as fair gets.

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