The 65 voting coaches — or, in many cases, their sports information directors — appear to be a bit more bullish on LSU than the odds makers in Las Vegas or the press contingent at Southeastern Conference Media Days.
The Tigers were voted No. 24 in the initial edition of the USA Today Coaches Poll, which was released on Thursday morning. LSU has now begun the season ranked in the coaches bowl every year since 2001.
The ranking is LSU’s lowest since the Tigers began the 2000 campaign — Nick Saban’s inaugural as head coach — outside the top 25 all together. Still, it’s a sunnier prognostication that the wins total under/over being set at 6.5 this summer or the media voting LSU fifth in the SEC West last month.
As expected, Saban and Alabama will open defense of their national championship from the No. 1 spot in the preseason poll. Georgia (No. 4), Auburn (No. 10) and Mississippi State (No. 18) are the other three ranked teams in the SEC. Click here to see the poll in full.
LSU, which opens fall camp tomorrow, will begin the season in Dallas on Sept. 2 against No. 8 Miami.