The LSU Tigers may not be at the top of the preseason polls as they were back in January after winning the BCS national championship game in the Superdome.

But it reflects a measure of respect for college football’s only two-time BCS champions that the Tigers are at least in the conversation as they enter 2008.

Ranked No. 6 in the USA Today coaches’ poll released Aug. 1, the Tigers came in at No. 7 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 released Saturday.

LSU, 12-2 last year and 56-10 overall dating back to their 2003 national championship season, garnered 1,135 points to come in well back of No. 6 Missouri (12-2, 1,266 points). No. 8 West Virginia (11-2) had 1,116 points, while Clemson (9-4, 1,105) and Auburn (9-4, 968) rounded out the top 10.

Fourth-year LSU coach Les Miles, a voter on the coaches’ poll, said he isn’t concerned about where the Tigers are ranked.

LSU is ranked ahead of Auburn in both polls despite being picked second in the SEC West behind Auburn at SEC Media Days in July. Auburn came in at No. 11 in the coaches’ poll.

Just like the coaches, the AP’s media panel ranked Georgia (11-2) at No. 1. The Bulldogs picked up 22 first-place votes, just like in the coaches’ poll, and 1,528 points overall.

The Bulldogs just edged out Ohio State, a 38-24 loser to LSU in the BCS title game, for the top spot. The Buckeyes (11-2) got 21 first-place votes and 1,506 points.

Southern California (11-2) is No. 3, just where the Trojans finished last season, with 1,490 points and 12 No. 1 votes. Oklahoma (11-3, 1,444 points, four No. 1 votes) is No. 4, ahead of No. 5 Florida (9-4, 1,415 points, six No. 1 votes).

The Gators were picked at SEC Media Days to win the SEC East and the conference overall.

As in recent years, the SEC appears poised as the nation’s toughest conference.

The SEC has six of its 12 teams in the poll, more than any other conference.

The Advocate