Deke: LSU's #13 rank in AP poll is a sign of respect
by Deke Bellavia,posted Aug 19 2014 10:48AM
Some say it's too high, others claim it's too low. Regardless of where you stand when it comes to the LSU Tigers opening up as the 13th best team in the first AP Top 25, to me, that's a sign that respect is being shown to the football program in Baton Rouge.
The Tigers open the 2014 season in less than two weeks as the 13th ranked team in the nation and their opponent, the Wisconsin Badgers are right behind the Bayou Bengals at #14.
The Tigers' #13 ranking symbolizes respect for the program. Why? I personally don't think that there are that many programs in the country that can lose the caliber of players that LSU did and still be ranked that close to the top 10. Hear me out before you get mad.
For those of you think that the Tigers should be ranked above #13, let me quickly point out a few facts. First up, LSU lost their most successful single season passer in school history. Zach Mettenberger was a 3,000 yard passer and a two-year starter at the most difficult position in the game. One of the SEC's best rushers in Jeremy Hill is no longer with the team as the 1,000 yard plus runner is now in the NFL with the Bengals. And not one, but yes, two 1,000 yard wide receivers are not in town anymore as Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry are in the big leagues as well.
Toss in that the Tigers defense, though not as good as they have been in the past, still lost four of the team's best tacklers. And when you look at who the Tigers open the season with (Wisconsin) and face road games at tough places like Auburn, Florida and Texas A&M, I think you would have to say that the #13 ranking is one that shows some love to LSU.
Is that love in the form of the talent the Tigers have back on their offensive line? Is that love in the form of the nation's #1 overall recruit being on campus in Leonard Fournette? Or could it be a little love going the way of the grass smoothie-drinking so-called "Mad Hatter" in the made-for-TV coach Les Miles?
Whatever you think, I truly believe that LSU opening the season at #13 shows some respect to a program that has been among the best in the nation's toughest conference for the last several seasons.
And who knows? If the Tigers can get off to a hot start and come out the gate 5-0 before they head to Auburn and Florida in back to back weeks, LSU should find themselves ranked in the top 10, if not the top five by then depending on what happens to the teams ranked above them!