For the first time since 1959, the LSU Tigers are the nation’s preseason No. 1 football team.
LSU earned the top spot in the USA Today coaches’ poll released Tuesday. The Tigers had 1,403 points and 18 first-place votes, just edging out Alabama (20 first-place votes, 1,399 points). Southern California was No. 3 with 19 first-place votes and 1,388 points.
Oklahoma and Oregon rounded out the top five. Georgia was No. 6, while South Carolina was No. 9, Arkansas No. 10, Florida No. 23 and Auburn No. 25.
Washington received the most votes among unranked teams. The Huskies visit Tiger Stadium on Sept. 8.
The Associated Press preseason top 25 will be released on Aug. 18.
With the No. 1 ranking as a backdrop, the Tigers opened practice Thursday with a pair of workouts, veterans in the morning, a mix of returning players and newcomers in the afternoon.
Starter Zach Mettenberger and redshirt freshman Stephen Rivers quarterbacked the team in the morning, throwing to a mix of veteran receivers. Former Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden was expected to be among those practicing in the afternoon.