BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Despite its lopsided loss to Alabama in last January's BCS national title game, LSU will open the 2012 season ranked No. 1 in at least one poll.
LSU sits atop the USA Today Top 25 coaches poll released on Thursday, with Alabama second and Southern California third.
LSU received 18 first-place votes, slightly fewer that the 20 first-place votes for the Crimson Tide and 19 first-place votes for the Trojans. Still, the Tigers narrowly had the most overall points in the poll, which awards 25 points for a No. 1 vote down to one point for 25th.
Oklahoma and Oregon round out the top five, followed by Georgia, Florida State, Michigan, South Carolina and Arkansas.
LSU and Alabama, rivals in the Southeastern Conference, meet Nov. 3 in Baton Rouge.