LSU Football: How Does the USA Today Preseason Poll Alter LSU's BCS Path?

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2012

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 01:  Les Miles, head coach of the Louisiana State University Tigers prior to a game being held at Tiger Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

You think LSU had pressure heading into last season?

Trying entering the 2012 college football season as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation.

Les Miles' LSU team earned the top spot in the annual USA Today Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released earlier this week. The Tigers (1403 points) just edged out defending National Champion Alabama (1399) for the No. 1 ranking.

When breaking down this year's preseason coaches' poll, one of the top story lines is the fact that there are five SEC teams ranked in the top 10, and seven overall in the top 25. Of those other six ranked SEC teams, the Tigers play five of them, with Georgia being the only team that will not square off against LSU.

In other words, LSU has one of the most challenging schedules in America, and the fact that they play five ranked teams certainly won't make it easy to get back to the National Championship this season.

The showdown that everyone will be waiting for will be on November 3rd, when Nick Saban's Alabama team will travel to Baton Rouge and take on the Tigers in a rematch of last year's National Championship Game. Of course, LSU beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa last season, before getting embarrassed against the Tide in the National Title Game.

This game will have major BCS implications and will more than likely give one of those two teams the clear path. But that isn't the only major game that could alter the Tigers' BCS path.

LSU closes out the season with a road game at No. 10 ranked Arkansas. The Razorbacks have arguably the top offense in the country heading into this season, featuring quarterback Tyler Wilson and running back Knile Davis, both of whom are on just about every preseason awards list known to man.

The interesting question that many people have to be asking is—Is it possible for another one-loss team to make it to the National Championship Game?

If it is LSU or Alabama were talking about, the answer is probably yes.

With this type of schedule, it wouldn't be surprising at all to see a one-loss LSU team make it back to the National Title Game. Especially if that loss came to Alabama, South Carolina or Arkansas, all of which are ranked in the top 10 in this USA Today Preseason Poll.

As far as a BCS birth goes, at this point it seems to be almost a guarantee that at least two teams out of the SEC Conference will be chosen to play in a BCS Bowl.

Hopefully, for the Tigers' sake, they will be included in the mix.

With a dominant rushing attack, a suffocating defense and one of the top coaches roaming the sidelines, you can't help but to like the Tigers' chances.