LSU ranked No. 1 in early football polls
Alabama won the Southeastern Conference's sixth consecutive BCS national championship with a 21-0 victory Monday night over LSU. But, with seven starters returning on offense and defense, it's the Tigers who are the team to beat in 2012, according to a "Way-Too-Early" Top 25 by ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach and a "Very Early College Football Top 25 for 2012" by Athlon Sports' Steven Lassan. "Believe it or not," Schlabach writes, "the Tigers might be even stronger in 2012 than they were in 2011." The rankings cite LSU's need to find a new quarterback after the departure of seniors Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee, writing that Georgia transfer Zach Mettenberger and incoming freshman Gunner Kiel are the leading candidates. The Tigers are one of four SEC teams in the top 10 of ESPN.com's poll—Alabama is No. 3, Georgia No. 6 and South Carolina No. 10—and one of three teams in the Athlon rankings—Alabama is No. 4 and Georgia No. 5. To read Schlabach's preseason rankings, click here. To read the Athlon Sports rankings, click here.
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A cautious comeback