Despite losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide in last year's BCS title game, the LSU Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the SB Nation BlogPoll as the summer started, thanks mainly to the huge number of contributors from last season's SEC championship team returning in 2012.
However, the departure of troubled cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, a.k.a. "The Honey Badger," has dropped the Tigers to No. 3 in the latest BlogPoll. They were jumped by both USC and Alabama in the last edition of the poll before the 2012 season begins.
While that doesn't actually mean anything in the big picture, public perception of a team's strength can have an outsized role in their fate in the BCS, as Oklahoma State found out last season when the Cowboys were jumped by the Crimson Tide in the last week of the season.
The Tigers had the chance to prove themselves early in 2011, when they defeated Oregon in an opening-week showdown in Dallas. There are no such powers on their non-conference schedule in 2012, although a home date with Washington in Week 2 will draw the ESPN cameras.
For more coverage of LSU's game against North Texas, check out the SB Nation Houston StoryStream as well as And The Valley Shook.