The Associated Press released its preseason Top 25 on Sunday, and LSU checks in at No. 5 in the nation with obvious hopes of improving its standing by the time Thanksgiving hits the calendar. It’s the highest preseason ranking for the Tigers since 2012, when they were coming off a national championship game loss to Alabama.
The top four teams in the country make the College Football Playoff, which means in the estimation of AP pollsters, the Tigers are the first team on the cutting room floor. Granted, the AP poll has no bearing on how the CFP selection committee makes its rankings. And there are still 12 games to play, so it’s far too early for anyone to be freaking out or crowing about where teams currently stand.
LSU is one of six SEC teams in the Top 25, led by defending champion Alabama in the top spot. The Crimson Tide come to Baton Rouge on Nov. 5, a meeting already so highly anticipated that nosebleed seats are being listed on the secondary market for over $200.
Tennessee is ranked ninth, Mississippi 11th, Georgia 18th and Florida 25th, giving the impression that pollsters see greater balance between the SEC West and East than years past, with three teams from each division in the rankings.
In addition to ‘Bama, the teams ranked ahead of LSU are No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 4 Florida State. At least one team ranked ahead of LSU is guaranteed a loss this year when the Seminoles host Clemson on Oct. 29.