As if the game needed any more hype, LSU football?s opener against Oregon on Sep. 3 in Arlington, Texas, is officially a top-five showdown.
LSU is ranked fourth and Oregon third in the USA Today coaches? poll released Thursday, coming in behind preseason No. 1 Oklahoma and Southeastern Conference favorite Alabama at No. 2.
The No. 4 ranking is the second-highest starting point for LSU in the USA Today poll during the Les Miles era. LSU started the 2007 ranked second behind Southern Cal and went on to win its second BCS championship in a four-year stretch.
LSU finished tied with Wisconsin for No. 8 in the poll last year after going 11-2 with a victory over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. The Tigers started 2010 at No. 16.
“We?ve never talked to our teams or planted any rankings on them,” Miles said of Thursday?s nod. “Hopefully, it will turn out to be too low.”
The SEC, which has produced the past five national champions, landed eight of its 12 teams in the USA Today poll. The SEC?s Western Division has five of its six teams in the rankings.
“It?s crazy,”” Miles said of the West?s representation, ?”but it?s a sign of how good everybody is. They probably should have each of them ranked ? six or seven of them.”
Reminded the West has only six teams, Miles shot back, ?”They probably should have some guys’second team in there.”
In addition to Alabama and LSU in the top five, the West has Arkansas at No. 14, Auburn at No. 19 and Mississippi State at No. 20. The East has South Carolina at No. 12, Georgia at No. 22 and Florida at No. 23.
Oklahoma was a runaway choice for No. 1 with 42 of 59 first-place votes. Alabama had 13 first-place votes followed by Oregon and LSU with two apiece. The Tigers will meet the Ducks, who lost to Auburn in last year?s BCS title game, in the Cowboys Classic to kick off the season.
Rounding out the top 10, Florida State is fifth, followed by Stanford, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin.
The Associated Press releases its preseason poll Aug. 20.