Top 25 countdown
The Times’ Chris Dufresne unveils his preseason college football top 25, one day (and team) at a time:
No. 7 Louisiana State
It’s good to be King Creole, but what has LSU done lately?
The defensive coordinator whose schemes helped snuff out Ohio State in last season’s national title game has taken his Xs and O’s to become head coach at Nebraska, which almost needs Red Cross relief on defense.
The huge defensive tackle, who required double and triple teams to impede his forward progress, is now Big Chief in Kansas City.
The talented dual-threat quarterback, who was expected to take full-time hold of the position this year, was kicked off the team in the spring after repeated violations of team rules.
Coach Les Miles?
Well, at least he’s still there. Miles has gone 34-6 in three years in Baton Rouge and his Tigers capped an exciting 2007 campaign by becoming the first two-loss team to win the Bowl Championship Series national title.
LSU loses six starters on offense and seven on defense from last year’s team but the talent pool runs deep, so expect the Tigers to make another run at the SEC West title and, perhaps, beyond.
We’ll know more about LSU by the third week of September. The Tigers open at home against Appalachian State, which wrecked Michigan’s opener last year in Ann Arbor with, arguably, the upset of the year (others could argue Stanford over USC).
“We understand they played a very capable Michigan team off their feet,” Miles said of Appalachian State.
On Sept. 20, LSU makes its way to Auburn, where the SEC West crown could be decided.
There is also a huge game at Florida and SEC home games against Georgia and Alabama, which is guided by former LSU coach Nick Saban.
LSU will need a quarterback, and the choices are Andrew Hatch, a transfer from Harvard, and redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee. The starter may be required only to cleanly facilitate the center-snap exchange while deferring to a supporting cast of speedsters and block monsters.
The countdown so far:
25. Notre Dame; 24. California; 23. Fresno State; 22. Florida State; 21. Rutgers; 20. Illinois; 19. Penn State; 18. Oregon; 17. Tennessee; 16. Arizona State; 15. Texas Tech; 14. Brigham Young; 13. Wisconsin; 12. Kansas; 11. Auburn; 10. Texas; 9. West Virginia; 8. Clemson; 7. Louisiana State.