LSU head coach Les Miles, aka The Mad Hatter, finds the preseason No. 1 monkey squarely on his team's back.
In its first poll of the college football season, the USA Today Coaches' Poll lists five SEC squads in its top 10, with LSU and Alabama ranked No. 1 & 2, although of the three teams receiving first place votes, the Tigers received the least number. The two traditional Southeastern Conference football titans are followed by fellow SEC schools Georgia, as the Bulldogs clock in at No. 6, South Carolina, ranked No. 9, and John L. Smith's Arkansas Razorbacks, who find themselves ranked No. 10 in the preseason.
Florida at No. 23, and Auburn at No. 25 are the other schools representing the nation's top football conference in the coaches' poll.
Rounding out the remainder of the top 10: No. 3 USC, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 5 Oregon, No. 7 Florida State, and No. 8 Michigan (who face No. 2 Alabama on September 1 in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas).
The only Big East squad listed in the preseason poll is No. 12 West Virginia ... oh, wait, the Mountaineers had the foresight to escape the country's weakest BCS football conglomerate by joining a conference, the Big 12, which knows the difference between a forward pass and the Veer.
That leaves the Big East -- which, in one of the biggest jokes in modern sports, receives an automatic BCS bid -- to rely on the Louisville Cardinals as the league's top preseason team (a Cardinal squad who lost to Marshall and Florida International last season), as the Cards received 46 votes, placing them No. 27 in the nation.
Other SEC schools receiving votes were: Texas A&M (No. 30), Mississippi State (No. 33), Tennessee (No. 43), and Missouri (No. 44).
No Kentucky. No problem. The 'Cats seem to do their best work when little success is anticipated.