College Football Rankings: Is LSU Really the Best Team in the Top 25?

Michael Taglienti@@miketag98Featured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2011

MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 24: Jarrett Lee #12 of the Louisiana State University Tigers hands the ball off to teammate Spencer Ware #11 during the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers on September 24, 2011 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

When the new Associated Press Poll is released, Louisiana State will assume the top spot in the rankings for the first time this year. LSU has leapfrogged Oklahoma into the No. 1 spot after their 47-21 victory over West Virginia. 

LSU has now defeated three teams ranked in the top 25. The other 24 teams in the top 25 have played a total of four teams ranked in the top 25. By going on the road and defeating top-ranked teams in convincing fashion, LSU has shown that they are the best team in the land.

Oklahoma's 38-28 victory over Missouri in Norman was not enough to impress the voters.

The 2011 version of the LSU Tigers feature their typical big and fast defense. The defense is led by sophomore CB Tyrann Mathieu, who is making a case for him being added to the Heisman list.

Mathieu leads Tigers with 30 total tackles to go along with three tackles for loss, half a sack, an interception and two fumble recoveries.

Simply put, Mathieu is always around the ball and when he is on the field, good things tend to happen for LSU.

The difference between this year's Tigers and the past few versions is stability at quarterback.

Senior Jarrett Lee has stepped in for the suspended Jordan Jefferson and has been a steadying influence on the field. Lee has completed a little over 64 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and only one interception in four games.

This is a stark contrast from Jefferson who seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a starter in 2010.

Lee understands that he simply has to be a game manager in order to give the Tigers the best chance to win.

Lee can hand the ball off to a group of running backs led by Spencer Ware and Michael Ford, who are running for 171 yards per game.

The LSU offense is not going to blow anyone away but with a defense that only allows 289 yards and 14.2 points per game they do not have to.

LSU is winning games by an average of 24 points per game and that is against the toughest schedule in the country.

LSU is the top team in the country because Les Miles' team knows who they are, and they are the best at it.

They are going to run the ball on offense and play spectacular football on defense and special teams to win games. It is a formula that has worked for Miles since he arrived in Baton Rouge and it has continued to work this season.

The Tigers are the No. 1-ranked team in the country, because they have earned it on the field.