The LSU Tigers were disrespected in the USA Today Preseason College Football Poll with a No. 13 ranking.
This should not come as a shock to LSU fans. All offseason, the Tigers have been overshadowed and overlooked in their own division.
Alabama enjoys a No. 1 ranking, while the Aggies reap a No. 5 preseason positioning. But LSU? LSU is at No. 13, and you know what? It's where we should prefer them.
There are five SEC teams that are ranked above LSU in the polls, and if that doesn't fire up the Tigers, nothing will. First it was the media giving LSU seven votes to finish first in the SEC West, compared to the 225 votes Alabama received at the 2013 SEC Media Days. Now, it's the coaches who have discredited the Tigers.
This is beginning to look a lot like the 2010 season. The Tigers were ranked No. 16 heading into that season with key losses on defense, such as Chad Jones and Perry Riley.
What did LSU do? The Tigers introduced the college football world to true freshman Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid, and finished the season with 11 wins after demolishing Texas A&M in the 2011 Cotton Bowl.
The Tigers were underrated then and they are underrated now.
This ranking is humiliating to Les Miles and everything that he's built at LSU. He's helped build a program that relies on the talent of true freshmen, and he'll need that philosophy more than ever in 2013.
Luckily for him, he has the talent to overcome eight losses on defense to the 2013 NFL draft. Look for names such as Kendell Beckwith, Tre'Davious White, Lewis Neal and Tashawn Bower to emerge from another great signing class.
Beckwith should play linebacker, while Bower and Neal lobby for playing time on the defensive line. As for White, his talents suggest that he'll do more than just compete with Jalen Collins for a starting cornerback position.
On the offensive side of the ball, Jeryl Brazil could show off his world-class speed at the running back position. Another Trindon Holliday? Let's hope so, since the Tigers may need him if Jeremy Hill's probation is revoked.
The preseason polls are supposed to predict which teams are best, right? They are supposed to form valid projections about a team based on team's tendencies and expected growth.
How did the coaches overlook LSU's expected offensive growth?
The Tigers return five offensive linemen with 86 games of action between them, a quarterback who showed potential at times last season, a full corps of wide receiver and a stable of three or four solid running backs.
The X-factor is the addition of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who will likely right the offensive woes. Cameron changed the tempo in spring ball and showcased great play designs in the spring game, with passes over the middle to a vacated spot. Vintage Cameron.
Then again, this expected success is all speculation, because it is obviously yet to be proven. Having said that, preseason polls are all about speculation. The Tigers won 10 games last season with a new starting quarterback, significant injuries to offensive linemen and running backs, and a group of young, unproven receivers.
Update that lineup with the aforementioned incoming talent, add to that the Tigers have 4- and 5-star athletes available for John Chavis to plug into his successful defensive system, and there's reason to believe the Tigers will be better than the sixth-best team in the conference next season. So where's the love?
Nowhere in sight.
No worries, Tiger fans. LSU will prove the media and coaches wrong once more, just as they have five times in the past eight years.
Just a few more months before the shutting of mouths begins.
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