Reigning 2019 national champions LSU begins its quest for a repeat performance this season ranked No. 6 in The Associated Press’ preseason Top 25 rankings which were released Monday.
The Tigers, who began last season ranked sixth, received one first-place vote and 1,186 points and are ranked behind No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Georgia and No. 5 Oklahoma.
The preseason poll, which began in 1950, included a pair of Power 5 Conferences in the Big 10 and Pac 12 that encompassed nine teams in the Top 25 that won’t play this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic that’s pushed their respective seasons to the spring.
Once the season starts AP voters will only rank teams scheduled to play.
Clemson, which fell 42-25 in last season’s national championship game, garnered 38 first-place votes and 1,520 total points to edge Ohio State (21 first-place votes, 1,504 points) and Alabama (two first-place votes, 1,422 points) for the top spot.
LSU’s second straight No. 6 ranking represents the 19thtime the program has started a season ranked in the Top 10 and third in five years.
Three teams ranked in the Top 10 – Ohio State, No. 7. Penn State and No. 9 Oregon – have followed the directive of their respective conferences and won’t play this fall.
Also included in that group are No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 16 Michigan, No. 17 USC, No. 19 Minnesota, No. 22 Utah and No. 24 Iowa.
The preseason rankings are also a testament to the difficulty in LSU’s conference-only schedule which will feature games against four teams ranked within the Top 13, while another team received votes.
LSU hosts Alabama in its annual showdown a week later than normal on Nov. 14, while having to travel to No. 8 Florida (Oct. 17), No. 11 Auburn (Oct. 31) and No. 13 Texas A&M (Nov. 28).
The Tigers are scheduled to open the season Sept. 26 at home against Mississippi State which received three votes.