LSU voted preseason No. 1 in the Coaches’ Poll for first time ever

The last time LSU entered the season as the No. 1 ranked team was in the AP Poll in 1959. It was the year following the 1958 championship season, and the Tigers boasted one of the best players in the nation in Billy Cannon.

BATON ROUGE – After spending 11-straight weeks undefeated and ranked No. 1 in 2011, the LSU Tigers will begin the 2012 season atop the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Top 25 poll that released this morning.

LSU is one of seven SEC teams in the Top 25. Five teams in this year’s preseason top 10 — Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon and Florida State — were in the top 10 to start last season. Alabama, LSU and Oregon still were in the top 10 when the 2011 season ended.

The Tigers will face five Top 25 teams–three on the road–and three top 10 teams. Last season LSU beat a nation-best eight Top 25 teams, including national champion Alabama on the road.

It is the first time in the history of the Coaches’ Poll that LSU enters the season No. 1. Its previous highest rank was in 2007, its last national championship season, when it entered play at No. 2. The Tigers last entered the season No. 1 in the AP poll following the championship season of 1959.

LSU returns 15 starters (six offense, six defense, three special teams) and a total of 41 letter winners from last year’s team, which finished 13-1, won the SEC title, and lost the BCS title game to Alabama. The Tide actually received more first-place votes than the Tigers, as did the USC Trojans, but both were edged out on the point system.

USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches’ Poll

First place votes follow team name in parentheses
1. LSU (18)
2. Alabama (20)
3. USC (19)
4. Oklahoma (1)
5. Oregon
6. Georgia
7. Florida State (1)
8. Michigan
9. South Carolina
10. Arkansas
11. West Virginia
12. Wisconsin
13. Michigan State
14. Clemson
15. Texas
16. Nebraska
17. TCU
18. Stanford
19. Oklahoma State
20. Virginia Tech
21. Kansas State
22. Boise State
23. Florida
24. Notre Dame
25. Auburn

Others receiving votes (with 2011 records): Washington (7-6) 64; Louisville (7-6) 46; Georgia Tech (8-5) 35; Cincinnati (10-3) 32; Texas A&M (7-6) 28; Baylor (10-3) 23; Utah (8-5) 22; Mississippi State (7-6) 21; South Florida (5-7) 12; N.C. State (8-5) 11; BYU (10-3) 10; Louisiana Tech (8-5) 10; Virginia (8-5) 9; Houston (13-1) 7; Southern Mississippi (12-2) 6; Central Florida (5-7) 5; Rutgers (9-4) 5; Florida International (8-5) 3; Missouri (8-5) 3; Tennessee (5-7) 3; Northern Illinois (11-3) 2; Texas Tech (5-7) 1.

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