So which SEC school will get to wear the BCS crown this year? Early preseason rankings for the 2011 college football season have two particular Southeastern Conference teams crowding the Top 5. And, amazingly enough, the 2010 Champion Auburn Tigers aren’t one of them.
Aalabma and LSU are making the most noise among SEC schools in early preseason ranking discussions and, with the way the Tigers and Tide performed during bowl season, it’s easy to see why.
The two seasons following the LSUs’ second BCS Championship (in 2007) produced the first dip below double-digit win seasons since Les Miles took over the program. But 2010 saw the bayou bangles roar back to the high standards that landed LSU a spot among the best college football programs of the last decade.
Finishing 11-2 and ranked #8 in the final AP poll, LSU returns nearly all of its offensive starters (who were last seen pulverizing a stout Texas A&M defense in the Cotton Bowl) and the majority of a defense that finished last season 11th in points allowed.
All of these positive signals have put LSU in the Top 4 of every preseason internet ranking yet published.
Dennis Dodd of CBS is the most bewitched by LSU’s potential for next season as he ranks the Tigers #1 on his list. Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated and Nationalchamps.net puts them third while Rivals.com and ESPN’s College Football Live place them fourth.
Dennis Dodd sites LSU’s emergence as the best SEC team heading into 2011 as the reason for ranking them #1. Until some other conference representative knocks off the champs from the Southeast (now owners of a stunning five consecutive BSC Titles), Dodd can’t, with good conscience, put any school from outside the SEC #1.
I disagree. I put LSU #2 in my own preseason Top 25
for precisely the antithesis of Dodd’s reasoning. The SEC reign has to end some time and I’m betting it will be sooner than later.
Which is why the Sooners are my #1.
LSU opens 2011 with a doozy of a nonconference opener versus BCS runners-up Oregon in Arlington, Texas. Should the Tigers make it past these rabid ducks, I like LSU’s chances of running the regular season table with a trip to Tuscaloosa in early November the main hurdle along the way.
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