For the second consecutive week, the LSU Tigers have dropped a spot in the AP Top 25, this time falling to No. 4 after defeating Towson 38-22 on Saturday, September 29, to move to 5-0. Last week the Tigers went from No. 2 to No. 3 following a 12-10 win over Auburn on the road. As an LSU fan, I am happy that my team is still undefeated, and I do not give much thought to national rankings early in the season. To me, it is more important for the team to correct the recent sloppy play and focus on the schedule ahead.
In addition to LSU, the SEC has four other teams ranked in the AP Top 25. The Tigers will face three of them in their next four games, starting with No. 10 Florida on October 6. If LSU plays in Gainesville like it did against Towson, none of the rankings will matter anyway. In today's college football, losing one game makes it difficult to have any hopes of playing for the national title. With No. 6 South Carolina and No. 1 Alabama also coming up in the next few weeks, LSU will certainly earn the ranking it deserves based on its on-field performance.
Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger has looked great, throwing six touchdowns and only two interceptions this season. However, he has also missed his targets at times and will need to be more accurate to convert crucial third downs against SEC defenses. The team's running game has also slowed down over the last two weeks. After totaling 808 yards in the first three games, Tigers runners gained just 340 against Auburn and Towson, which includes a 78-yard run by wide receiver Russell Shepard.
With five turnovers in the last two games as well, the offense is putting a lot of pressure on the defense. The defense has responded and has played well, surrendering just 10 points to Auburn and only nine to Towson through three quarters. If the offense can control the ball better, the defense can do its job. As a fan, though, I worry about the offense's ability to do so against top SEC competition.
Regardless of national rankings, the LSU Tigers will get a better test this weekend when facing the Florida Gators. The "easier" part of the schedule is over, and it is now time for the Tigers to play their best football.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.