LSU is ranked No. 3 behind top-ranked USC and defending BCS champion Alabama in the Associated Press preseason football poll that was released Saturday.
The Tigers, who were ranked No. 1 in the coaches preseason poll, likely would have been No. 1 in the AP poll as well if All-America cornerback Tyrann Mathieu had not been dismissed from the team
USC earned the top spot in The AP preseason football poll for the seventh time in school history and the first time in five seasons. The Trojans received 25 of a possible 60 first-place votes from a media panel in a close vote. USC received 1,445 points.
The Crimson Tide had 17 first-place votes and 1,411 points, and LSU, which plays host to Bama on Nov. 3 in Tiger Stadium, got 16 first-place votes and 1,402 points. Oklahoma was fourth with one first-place vote, and Oregon was fifth. No. 8 Michigan received the only other first-place vote.
The AP said the Tigers “were poised to start the season No. 1″ before Mathieu got kicked off the team Aug. 10.
After Mathieu’s dismissal, reportedly for multiple failed drug tests, the AP extended the voting deadline. LSU had received 28 of a possible 60 first-place votes. USC was a close second with 22 first-place votes and Alabama was third with nine.
In the USA Today coaches’ poll, which was released Aug. 2, LSU was followed by No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 USC.
The Southeastern Conference had five teams in the AP top 10 as No. 6 Georgia, No. 9 South Carolina and No. 10 Arkansas followed Alabama and LSU.