AP says Tigers #5

For the second consecutive season, LSU will start the football season ranked in the top 10 in the Associated Press poll as the Tigers are No.5 in the first AP Top 25, which was released on Saturday.

The Tigers, under first-year coach Les Miles, return 16 starters from last year's 9-3 team. A year ago, the Tigers reached a January bowl game for a record fourth straight season and finished the year ranked No. 16 in the country.

Southern Cal, the defending national champion, received 60 of a possible 65 first place votes and is ranked No. 1 in the nation. Texas got four first place votes and is ranked No. 2 in the nation, followed by Tennessee, Michigan and LSU.

Ohio State starts the bottom half of the top 10, followed by Oklahoma at No. 7, Virginia Tech No. 8, Miami No. 9, and Florida No. 10. Louisville, ranked No. 12 in the nation, received the last first place vote from one of the 65 media voters.

Other Southeastern Conference teams in the AP Top 25 include Georgia at No. 13 and Auburn at No. 16. Arizona State, LSU's opponent on Sept. 10 in Baton Rouge, is ranked No. 20 in the nation.

In all, LSU faces four teams in the AP Top 25 with all of those contests coming in Tiger Stadium. In addition to the Arizona State game, the Tigers host Tennessee on Sept. 24, followed by Florida on Oct. 15 and Auburn a week later on Oct. 22.

The Tigers, the 2003 BCS National Champion, opened 2004 ranked No. 4 in the nation. LSU has not been ranked in the AP preseason Top 10 in back-to-back years since 1997-'98 when the Tigers were No. 10 and No. 7 respectively.

LSU opens its first year under Miles on Sept. 3, hosting North Texas at 7 p.m. in Tiger Stadium.

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