Monday, September 28

How the heck is LSU ranked 4th?

A few years back, I decided to make a series of posts (heck, I think they’re even on here somewhere but they’re so badly written I’m not even going to link to them) about how voters tend to auto-vote teams based on basically their pre-season assumptions and who lost that week. I remember something about typical loss dropping and basically auto-voting the order, but again – I more remember doing it than what the results were. Fortunately, Ole Miss’s dead-man fall from 4th to 20th/21st pretty much blew that auto-loss idea out of the water, and I’m glad they did that. On the other hand, auto-queuing LSU up to the 4th spot in both polls makes just as much sense to me as Ole Miss.

It’s not that I don’t think LSU will be good and/or deserving of the 4th spot at some point this season; right now, they’re not worth it. This is a team who’s looked lost on defense so far this year. I don’t know if DC John Chavis has had issues instituting his schemes with LSU’s personnel or if they’re still untraining habits from the defensive massacre that was last season’s team, but this is not a defense befitting what should be a national title contender. While there are pieces there – the Tigers’ ability to force turnovers being chief among them right now – the overall results aren’t what you’d expect.

Again, it’s the same thing on offense; both the rushing and passing offenses are damn near anemic, especially for what passes for an early-season slate from LSU. Teams ranked that highly shouldn’t need 14 special teams and defense points to overcome Mississippi State, even if it’s on the road. This is a team that ranks in the lower half of the SEC right now in all of the big six categories (rushing, passing, and scoring offense and defense – each one, so that comes out to six) save scoring defense. I can’t see a team like that in the top 5 of anything except biggest issues that haven’t been addressed yet.

Of course, the obvious follow-up is who should be fourth right now if LSU isn’t? That I’m not as sure of; personally, I’d like seeing Boise State there. Cincinnati has a semi-legitimate claim, although they may suffer from some of the same issues as LSU (although they have a straight-up, on-TV domination of Rutgers on their resume). Virginia Tech may have a spot, if you’re okay with the idea of a one-loss team at #4 Houston may be the best non-Boise option at #4, to be honest, with a road win over Oklahoma State (who the coaches still have ranked above Houston – way to go, graduate assistants of the world) and a big, last-second win over Texas Tech. It’s not like there aren’t capable teams who could reasonably be the 4th team in the country; it just so happens that the team currently occupying it may or may not be made of paper. Let’s see LSU land a convincing win before we anoint them legitimate national title contenders.