Tigers on top in the coaches' poll

LSU will begin the 2012 season in the catbird seat in the USA Today/ESPN rankings.

The first of the two major pre-season college football polls surfaced Thursday and LSU is sitting in a familiar place: On top.

The Tigers are No. 1 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, edging out SEC brethren and nemesis Alabama by four points. The Crimson Tide actually got more first-place votes (20-18) than LSU, as did Southern California (19).

But the Tigers wound up on top in the vote of 57 coaches, a list that includes seven SEC head men: Les Miles, Nick Saban, Gene Chizik, James Franklin, Joker Phillips, Mark Richt and Steve Spurrier. In addition, nine coaches with strong ties to the league also vote in the coaches' poll, including former LSU coordinators Jimbo Fisher and Bo Pellini.

LSU will face five teams ranked in the initial poll: Alabama (2), South Carolina (9), Arkansas (10), Florida (23) and Auburn (25). Week 2 opponent Washington received the most votes outside the top 25 and Georgia (6) looms as a potential opponent if the Tigers and Bulldogs get to the SEC Championship Game.

USA Today/ESPN coaches pre-season poll

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