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CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Preseason college football rankings: No. 10 Louisiana State

Tigers are surrounded by uncertainty after bar fight involving starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson, but anything can happen with Coach Les Miles at the helm.

August 21, 2011|Chris Dufresne
  • Louisiana State quarterback Jordan Jefferson and some of his teammates were involved in a fight outside a Baton Rouge bar on Friday. Will Jefferson's actions away from the field hurt the Tigers' chances of challenging for a national championship?
Louisiana State quarterback Jordan Jefferson and some of his teammates… (Bill Haber / Associated…)

Today's joke: Starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson and several unidentified teammates walk into a bar …

Wait, it's no joke, so now what?

After an emergency meeting of the Rankings Unity Council, it was determined the uncertainty surrounding the program's bayou boorishness required a message-sending countdown downgrade.

Louisiana State, originally penciled at No. 5, moves to No. 10. Everyone else bumps up one spot in the rotation.

Paul Dee would want it this way. This kind of behavior can be tolerated at our school, but never yours.

A bar fight involving the starting quarterback and other players, this close to the Sept. 3 opener against Oregon, has left too many questions to trust LSU with a top-five position.

Bottom line: Don't sweat it. Knowing the Tigers and their Teflon, 10-gallon-hat coach, Les Miles, everything will work out and LSU will win the national title next January because the game, after all, is in New Orleans.

How does LSU crawl back from our No. 10? Shoot, in 2007, LSU jumped from No. 7 to No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series standings on the last weekend and ended up beating Ohio State, for the national title, in New Orleans.

If you believe in karma, lucky pennies, omens and "The Hat," this is your team.

Forget the negatives swirling this summer around the program, namely the Willie Lyles investigation, the eligibility concerns of star receiver Russell Shepard and Tigers players flying out of saloon doors.

No one is better at tiptoeing through trouble than Miles, blessed with the uncanny knack of, well, beating Tennessee last year because the Volunteers had 12 players on the field.

LSU is poised for another run over hot coals. The Tigers, 11-2 last year, have a great blend of experience and talented youth — 16 seniors plus 24 freshmen or sophomores on the two-deep roster.

The key was thought to be the talented but mercurial Jefferson, the senior quarterback, who rushed for 450 yards last year but passed for only seven touchdowns.

"You always hear criticism," Jefferson said at Southeastern Conference media days. "… I work at the things people say I lack … and hopefully I can prove them wrong."

Judgment Day for Jefferson, though, was not supposed be conducted before a real judge.

LSU hired former Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe to help mentor Jefferson. Sadly, Kragthorpe had to surrender his role as offensive coordinator this summer when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, but he will remain on staff as quarterbacks coach.

Anyway, Tigers fans tired of Jefferson's antics are ready to anoint sophomore Zach Mettenberger.

Never, ever bet against Miles, dubbed "The Hat," for the way his LSU cap sits high atop his head.

Winning it all won't be easy, but LSU has been the most opportunistic team in BCS history. The Tigers of 2007 remain the only two-loss team to claim a BCS title.

SEC teams historically schedule light in nonconference, but LSU is taking a full load of classes.

The Tigers open the season against Oregon in Arlington, Texas, and also play at West Virginia on Sept. 24.

LSU also faces a daunting SEC schedule that includes a trip to Alabama.

"I think the schedule is as challenging as any I've been around," Miles said.

What goes around with Miles never seems to come around, though, so you should probably start planning the BCS parade.

The countdown so far: 25. Texas; 24. Georgia; 23. Arkansas; 22. Arizona State; 21. West Virginia; 20. Auburn; 19. Ohio State; 18. USC; 17. Michigan State; 16. Florida; 15. Virginia Tech; 14. Texas A&M; 13. Texas Christian; 12. South Carolina; 11. Notre Dame.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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