Early 2016 rankings place LSU as high as No. 4; Leonard Fournette, Dave Aranda cited as difference-makers _lowres

Associated Press photo by JONATHAN BACHMAN -- LSU coach Les Miles hands running back Leonard Fournette a game ball after breaking the single-season rushing record during the home finale against Texas A&M on Nov. 28.

LSU finished the 2015 college football season ranked 16th and 17th in two polls released Tuesday, as Alabama claimed the top spot with a victory over Clemson in Monday night’s national championship game.

But what about 2016? Here are some very early Top 25 predictions:

• USA Today: Ranks Clemson No. 1, Alabama No. 2 and LSU as the No. 10 team.

On LSU: “Does LSU have a quarterback? If so, the Tigers may be the best team in college football. Yet that’s an annual concern ...” See more here.

• Chicago Tribune: Ranks Clemson No. 1, Alabama No. 2 and LSU as the No. 5 team.

On LSU: “Leonard Fournette will make a Heisman run behind an experienced line, and new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda will call the signals in the season opener against his former team, Wisconsin, at Lambeau Field.” See more here.

• Fox Sports: Ranks Clemson No. 1, Florida State No. 2 and LSU as the No. 5 team.

On LSU: “Les Miles should have his best combo of talent and experience in years ...” See more here.

• CBS Sports: Ranks Clemson No. 1, Alabama No. 2 and LSU as the No. 4 team.

On LSU: “Les Miles is back with overwhelming talent and leverage. The administration better not mess with him...” See more here.

• ESPN: Ranks Clemson No. 1, Alabama No. 2 and LSU as the No. 7 team.

On LSU: “After surviving an attempted coup, Tigers coach Les Miles probably knows his team is going to have to challenge Alabama in the SEC West if he’s going to keep his job. He took a big step in doing that by hiring Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda ...” See more here.

• Yahoo: Ranks Clemson No. 1, Alabama No. 2 and LSU as the No. 9 team.

On LSU: “Just because Les Miles escaped the firing line this past season doesn’t mean his job is safe. He’s still going to need to produce better than a 9-3 record if he wants to continue leading the Tigers ...” See more here.