Exactly two weeks before the LSU football team’s Sept. 3 opener, the release of the Associated Press top 25 Saturday stamped the Tigers as a consensus top-five pick entering the season.
A panel of sportswriters and broadcasters voted LSU fourth in the AP poll, matching the ranking LSU received Aug. 4 in the USA Today Coaches preseason rankings.
In fact, the entire top four in the AP poll matches the USA Today rankings: Oklahoma first, followed by Alabama at No. 2 and Oregon third.
Boise State is No. 5 in the AP poll, whereas Florida State holds that spot in the USA Today rankings.
After the USA Today poll came out, LSU coach Les Miles said, “We’ve never talked to our teams or planted any rankings on them. Hopefully, it will turn out to be too low.”
LSU meets Oregon, which lost to Auburn in the BCS title game last season, in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas, on opening weekend.
Behind Alabama and LSU in the top five, No. 12 South Carolina, No. 15 Arkansas, No. 19 Georgia, No. 20 Mississippi State, No. 22 Florida and No. 23 Auburn give the Southeastern Conference eight teams in the AP’s preseason poll.
LSU picked up only one first-place vote, from Kirk Bohls of the Austin (Texas) American Statesman. Oklahoma took 36 of the first-place votes, Alabama had 17, Oregon had four and Boise State received two.
Louisiana has two voters on the poll board. Randy Rosetta of TigerSportsDigest.com had Oklahoma first, Florida State second, Oregon third, LSU fourth and Alabama fifth. Garland Gillen of WWL-TV, New Orleans, had Alabama first, LSU second, Oklahoma third, Oregon fourth and Stanford fifth.
“It may be a leap of faith to put LSU as the No. 1 team on my ballot, but I believe in Les Miles and saw in last year’s Cotton Bowl how good the Tigers can be when motivated,” Bohls said.
“With the return of Jordan Jefferson, two possible replacements at quarterback, most of the offensive line and so much athletic talent, the Tigers should be an offensive power. They do have to go to Alabama, but so did Auburn last year, and that turned out OK. Besides, an SEC team has to win it all every year, right?”
On his ballot, Bohls had Oklahoma second, Alabama third, Florida State fourth and Boise fifth.
LSU finished 8th in the AP poll last year after starting at No. 21 in the preseason. It marked the 119th week out of 121 that the Tigers were ranked.
Saturday’s ranking gives LSU a top-10 preseason position for the fifth time in Miles’ seven seasons. The Tigers were No. 2 when they began their run to the BCS title in 2007.
LSU returns 16 starters — nine on offense, seven on defense — from the team that went 11-2 last season with a victory over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.
The Tigers broke camp Friday and returned to practice Saturday, working out inside Tiger Stadium. They are scheduled to practice again Sunday, then move into their typical game-week schedule Monday as LSU starts classes.
Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.