The LSU football team will enter the 2012 college football season ranked No. 1 in the Coaches' Poll. Alabama was a close second and USC was right behind the Crimson Tide in third place. In fact, both Alabama (20) and the Trojans (19) had more first-place votes than LSU (18) in the poll.
Can LSU Stay No. 1?
LSU spent 11 weeks in a row at the top of the poll during the 2011 season and will be looking for another long stay at No. 1 this season. However, LSU's schedule is pretty weak compared to last year and that could spell problems right away, even if the Tigers win big over North Texas. Alabama plays No. 8 Michigan in their first game of the season in the 2012 Cowboys Classic at Cowboys Stadium. USC has Hawaii in the first week of the 2012 season. I expect style points from the Trojans to try to show the coaches, or, sports information directors if we're being honest, that they were right in handing USC so many first-place votes. While the Tigers have home games against Washington and Idaho in weeks two and three, Alabama travels to No. 10 Arkansas in week three while USC will play at No. 18 Stanford that week. With the way the early schedules work out, retaining the No. 1 spot looks to be out of LSU's hands.
SEC Dominates Top Ten
The SEC is a stacked conference going into the 2012 season, if the Coaches' Poll is to be believed. The SEC landed five teams in the top ten: LSU, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Arkansas. Florida and Auburn are also ranked in the Top 25.
Here's the list of the top ten schools in the poll:
#1 LSU (18)
#2 Alabama (20)
#3 USC (19)
#7 Florida State
#9 South Carolina
It's probably worth mentioning that both LSU head coach Les Miles and Alabama head coach Nick Saban have votes in this year's Coaches' Poll. I don't think they would mind if LSU and Alabama met as No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the regular season again. I wouldn't mind seeing that scenario either as winning the game would help LSU in the BCS standings.
As an LSU fan, I'm not worried about the possibility of the Tigers losing the top position early if they have a chance to take it back late in the season.
More from Patrick Johnston:LSU has five players on CBS Sports' Preseason All-America Team