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Alabama Got His Vote, and His Alone, for the First 17 Weeks

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FOR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Corky Simpson, 54, sports columnist for the Tucson Citizen, voted Alabama No. 1 for all 17 weeks of the Associated Press college football poll, including the preseason. The team received no other No. 1 votes.

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Vindication isn’t mine, it’s Alabama’s.

As the only voter in the Associated Press Top 25 poll who picked the Crimson Tide No. 1 every week, I took my share of flack from around the country, but that’s part of the game.

Genius? Nah, I’m the same guy who picked the New England Patriots to beat the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl (in 1986).

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The last winner I picked was a horse named Chateaugay in the Kentucky Derby, years before any of the Alabama players were born. But I knew this Alabama team was special because I did something others apparently failed to do: homework.

I cast my first ballot for Alabama last February. In a poll conducted by the Football Writers Assn. of America at the NCAA College Football Forum in Kansas City, I picked the Tide No. 1.

I took the time to talk to Alabama Coach Gene Stallings, to Bill Lumpkin, a sports editor from Birmingham, Ala., and to Larry White, of the Alabama sports information office.

At one point, I worried that I might be embarrassing the AP. Irate calls and letters poured in after my identity was revealed.

I never once doubted my vote. Even when Washington and Miami were riding high, and Alabama was simply slipping by, something told me fate was with the Crimson Tide.

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