The LSU Tigers football team will start the 2012 season ranked at number 3 by the Associated Press. The writers voted USC No. 1 followed by Alabama.

The Tigers have been ranked higher only twice in the AP Top 25 to start the season. They were ranked number 1 in 1959 and number 2 2007.

AP writer Ralph D. Russo said, "The Tigers were poised to start the season No. 1 before Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu got kicked off the team a week ago.

"In light of that development, the AP extended the voting deadline. Before Mathieu was dismissed...LSU had received 28 of a possible 60 first-place votes. USC was a close second with 22 first-place votes and Alabama was third with nine."

According to Birmingham News reporter Jon Soloman, this is the first time since 1997 that the coaches and writers' preseason polls have been split.

LSU was No. 1 in the coaches' preseason poll that was released on Aug. 2.

via [LSU Sports]