LSU will enter the 2021 season ranked in the Top 25 as the Tigers come in at No. 13 in the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll, which was released on Tuesday.
It’s the 21st consecutive season the Tigers start the year ranked in the Top 25, a streak that dates back to 2001. LSU opens the year on September 4 against UCLA at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
In the 21 coaches polls since Nick Saban arrived as LSU’s coach in 2000 followed by Les Miles in 2005 and Ed Orgeron after the first four games of 2016, the Tigers have finished the season improving their preseason rankings 10 times and 10 times with finishing with rankings worse than their preseason rankings. In Saban’s first year, LSU started and finished the season unranked.
Like this year with LSU a preseason No. 13, the Tigers were also a preseason No. 13 four times in the coaches poll since 2000 — 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2002. They finished with worse rankings each time at 17th in 2015, unranked in 2014, 14th in 2013 and unranked in 2002.
The last three times LSU has won the national championship, they had preseason coaches polls rankings of No. 6 in 2019, No. 2 in 2007 and No. 15 in 2003.
Last season, LSU was No. 5 in the preseason Coaches poll, but started 1-2 and disappeared for the rest of the year en route to a 5-5 record. The Tigers return 18 starters and 54 letterwinners from last year’s squad that capped the year with wins over Florida and Ole Miss.
LSU is one of six Southeastern Conference teams in the USA Today Preseason Top 25, joining No. 1 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 11 Florida, and No. 25 Ole Miss. LSU hosts both Texas A&M and Florida in Tiger Stadium this year.
The Associated Press will release its Top 25 poll next Monday, Aug. 16.
USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll
Rank, Team (First-Place Votes), Points
1, Alabama (63), 1621
2, Clemson, 1508
3, Oklahoma (2), 1481
4, Ohio State, 1435
5, Georgia, 1386
6, Texas A&M, 1286
7, Notre Dame, 1139
8, Iowa State, 1131
9, North Carolina, 999
10, Cincinnati, 979
11, Florida, 870
12, Oregon, 842
13, LSU, 664
14, USC, 655
15, Wisconsin, 654
16, Miami, 575
17, Indiana, 573
18, Iowa, 554
19, Texas, 427
20, Penn State, 422
21, Washington, 404
22, Oklahoma State, 216
23, UL-Lafayette, 153
24, Coastal Carolina, 150
25, Ole Miss, 149
Others Receiving Votes
Utah 145; Northwestern 120; Arizona State 90; Auburn 84; Liberty 68; Brigham Young 53; Texas Christian 48; Michigan 30; Central Florida 29; NC State 27; Boise State 27; Kentucky 20; San Jose State 18; Army 13; Virginia Tech 9; Missouri 8; UCLA 7; Tulsa 6; Pittsburgh 6; Boston College 6; Houston 5; Ball State 5; West Virginia 4; Southern Methodist 4; Appalachian State 4; UAB 3; Arkansas 3; Nevada 2; Mississippi State 2; Air Force 2; Stanford 1; Marshall 1; Florida State 1; California 1.
List of Voters (SEC coaches in bold)
The USA TODAY Sports AFCA Board of Coaches is made up of 65 head coaches at Football Bowl Subdivision schools. All are members of the American Football Coaches Association. The voters for the 2021 season are Tom Allen, Indiana; Blake Anderson, Utah State; Dino Babers, Syracuse; Walt Bell, Massachusetts; Mike Bloomgren, Rice; Craig Bohl, Wyoming; Neal Brown, West Virginia; Troy Calhoun, Air Force; Matt Campbell, Iowa State; Jason Candle, Toledo; Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina; Paul Chryst, Wisconsin; Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech; David Cutcliffe, Duke; Butch Davis, Florida International; Manny Diaz, Miami (Florida); Dave Doeren, North Carolina State; Karl Dorrell, Colorado; Eliah Drinkwitz, Missouri; Sonny Dykes, Southern Methodist; Luke Fickell, Cincinnati; Jedd Fisch, Arizona; Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern; James Franklin, Penn State; Willie Fritz, Tulane; Danny Gonzales, New Mexico; Todd Graham, Hawaii; Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; Will Hall, Southern Mississippi; Thomas Hammock, Northern Illinois; Bryan Harsin, Auburn; Clay Helton, Southern California; Tyson Helton, Western Kentucky; Brady Hoke, San Diego State; Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech; Butch Jones, Arkansas State; Brian Kelly, Notre Dame; Jimmy Lake, Washington; Clark Lea, Vanderbilt; Tim Lester, Western Michigan; Sean Lewis, Kent State; Maurice Linguist, Buffalo; Seth Littrell, North Texas; Mike Locksley, Maryland; Chad Lunsford, Georgia Southern; Gus Malzahn, Central Florida; Chuck Martin, Miami (Ohio); Doug Martin, New Mexico State; Phillip Montgomery, Tulsa; Dan Mullen, Florida; Billy Napier, Louisiana-Lafayette; Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh; Ken Niumatalolo, Navy; Gary Patterson, TCU; Sam Pittman, Arkansas; NIck Rolovich, Washington State; Nick Saban, Alabama; Steve Sarkisian, Texas; Scott Satterfield, Louisville; Greg Schiano, Rutgers; Kirby Smart, Georgia; Jake Spavital, Texas State; Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee; Mel Tucker, Michigan State; Kyle Whittingham, Utah.