The first college football rankings of the regular season are out, and the LSU Tigers are moving closer to the top after Saturday’s convincing 40-27 win over then No. 3-ranked Oregon.
LSU, which was No. 4 in both major national polls, climbed to No. 2 in The Associated Press Top 25, leapfrogging previous No. 2 Alabama. The Tigers moved up one spot to No. 3 in the USA Today coaches’ poll.
The AP ranking is LSU’s highest since the Tigers finished No. 1 after beating Ohio State in the BCS National Championship game in January 2008.
LSU earned first-place votes from 17 of 60 voters in the AP poll after grabbing just one No. 1 vote in the preseason. The Tigers picked up seven first-place votes from the coaches.
The news that the Tigers had surpassed the Crimson Tide in The Associated Press poll was not happily received by Alabama punter Cody Mandell, a native of Lafayette.
“I love the fact that LSU jumped us in ranking,” Mandell said Tuesday on his Twitter account. “That’s just more motivation.”
LSU is also in the No. 1 spot ahead of Alabama in the version of Jeff Sagarin’s computer rankings (ELO-Chess) that are used as part of the BCS formula.
LSU’s Ford graces SI cover
LSU tailback Michael Ford will be on the cover of the next issue of Sports Illustrated.
The cover photo on the Sept. 12 issue is of Ford leaping out of the grasp of an unidentified Oregon defender next to the headline: “It’s Go Time: A New Tiger in the SEC.”
Ford had 14 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns against the Ducks, teaming with Spencer Ware to rush for 195 yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries.
Game on TigerVision
Saturday’s 7 p.m. home opener against Northwestern State will be available on TigerVision, LSU’s in-house pay-per-view network.
The cost is $34.95. The game can be purchased through a local cable system, The Dish Network or DirecTV.
Outside Louisiana, the game will be available on ESPN’s Game Plan package and ESPN3.com.
This will be LSU’s only TigerVision telecast this season, sports information director Michael Bonnette said.
Doug Greengard (play-by-play) and Rene Nadeau (analyst) will call the action.
As of close of business Tuesday about 400 tickets remained for Saturday’s game through the LSU athletic ticket office.
It’s rare that a referee will make a comment to a player during a game, but the way LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery was carrying on led to an exception.
Montgomery, playing in his first game since going down with a knee injury Oct. 2 against Tennessee, at one point started pounding his fists on the turf.
“All I could think about was 'Drums ... beat drums ... beat Oregon,’” Montgomery recalled.
“Then one of the referees told (the other linemen) 'I think you’d better get No. 99 some medication.’”
Nothing new to report
LSU coach Les Miles said his team emerged from the Oregon game without any significant new injuries that would keep anyone out of Saturday’s game.
He also said there is no change to the suspended status of quarterback Jordan Jefferson, wide receiver Russell Shepard or linebacker Josh Johns.
Kudos for Crowton
Miles congratulated former LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, now offensive coordinator at Maryland, for the Terrapins’ 32-24 win Monday over Miami.
“Let me first say congratulations to coach Crowton,” Miles said.
“He called a great game. The offense seemed to be very prolific. I’m excited that an old friend won.”
Maryland rolled up 499 yards total offense against the Hurricanes, more than LSU had in any game last season.
Crowton’s offense also didn’t suffer from any delay of game penalties as it often did at LSU.
Maryland’s offense was penalized just twice for false starts.
Sophomore cornerback Tyrann Mathieu may be listed at just 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, but Miles said he plays much bigger.
Maybe he thinks bigger, too.
“I just want you to know that his size is 6-6, 300, and he’s the strongest man on the field and the fastest, and when he looks in the mirror that’s what he sees,” Miles said. “There’s not a play he can’t make.”
Mathieu led LSU with 10 tackles Saturday and had the game-changing play on special teams in the second quarter. He stripped Oregon punt returner Kenjon Barner at the Ducks’ 3 and hopped into the end zone with the ball for the Tigers’ first touchdown.
“There’s not a play that he’s not having the opportunity to make or that he’s out of,” Miles said.
“That thought process is infectious. I think the challenge is for his teammates to make the same kind of play, and I think you’ll see that.”
Mathieu’s touchdown was the 14th special teams touchdown during the Miles era. The Tigers have had at least one in each of his seven seasons.
Advocate sportswriter Les East contributed to this report.