LSU football improved to 4-1 over the weekend with its win over Auburn. The Tigers came back from 17-0 down early in the second quarter to eventually stun the crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium. They left the Plains 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play with a 21-17 win over Bryan Harsin’s struggling squad, despite struggles of their own.
This was easily the Bayou Bengals’ toughest test since the opening week loss to Florida State. Weirdly, the victory over Auburn made up for the Week 1 defeat and legitimizes the strength of LSU’s schedule up until this point. This has finally earned the Tigers some recognition among the national media as they put Brian Kelly’s team in the AP Top 25 Poll for the first time this year.
LSU football breaks into the AP Top 25 for the first time at No. 25
LSU breaks into the rankings at No. 25. Whereas the Tigers have played so-called cupcake opponents in Southern and New Mexico, the rest of their schedule has some strength to it. The Seminoles represent what’s often seen as a “good loss” in the eyes of the voters. Meanwhile, Mississippi State is viewed as a quality team, as evidenced by the Bulldogs’ No. 23 ranking in this week’s AP Poll.
The Bayou Bengals have finally proven to the college football world that Kelly’s rebuild is ahead of schedule. Not many knew what to expect of the team that the former Notre Dame coach put together in the offseason. It’s safe to say now that it’s exceeded expectations.
Nevertheless, the higher standards being placed on LSU only adds stress to the remainder of the schedule. The Tigers now welcome Tennessee to Death Valley for a Saturday morning clash between two Top 25 teams. The Volunteers are an established team in the eyes of the AP Poll, currently sitting at No. 8 following a series of convincing victories.
Immediately following Tennesse comes a trip to Florida, a showdown with Ole Miss, a rivalry game against Alabama and a trip to Arkansas. Suffice it to say the schedule only gets significantly more difficult for Jayden Daniels and Co. for the remainder of the year. LSU will need to step it up a notch if it wants any chance within the SEC. Furthermore, the Tigers will have to scratch and claw their way through these contests if they want to remain in the Top 25.
The easy part of the season has come and gone. LSU won four of its first five games, but as the second half of the season creeps up, the task at hand becomes exponentially more challenging. The Tigers have done their part to get ranked. Their paws are in the door, and now, they need to continue to prove themselves if they want to establish themselves as a contender.
The unfortunate reality of college football polls—especially the AP Top 25—is that it’s incredibly easy for teams to slide down once they’ve conquered the mountain and gotten into the rankings. Recency bias also factors into every decision. To combat this, LSU simply needs to keep on taking it week-by-week and winning football games.