It raised a few eyebrows among the more suspicious in the LSU crowd when the Tigers dropped a spot to No. 5 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll, even though they did nothing more egregious than take a deserved week off.

The truly paranoid wanted to check the fine print to see if it was legal to drop a spot while relaxing on the couch.

Forget about it.

It's nothing. Don't give it a second thought.

It's also as fair as fair can be.

You already knew that in this day and age those polls don't mean squat. Yet a lot of the same people who whine that the polls shouldn't be conducted until a month or so into the season have no qualms about enlightening the world with their College Football Playoff projections after one week of the season.

Read my lips: the polls are strictly for entertainment purposes.

But as long as the polls are in play, they're supposed to be volatile in the early season.

If something like this happened in late mid-to-late November, maybe you'd do a double-take. Not now.

LSU shot up into national consciousness on the heels of that exciting 45-38 victory over Texas in Week 2.

It was by far the best game of the year at that time and LSU got the kind of love nationally not seen since the Honey Badger days.

Talking heads were dang near hyperventilating to pronounce LSU as the most impressive team in the country. The national knee-jerk reaction was to go ahead and Bring on Bama and pencil the Tigers into the CFP.

Two factors were at work there.

At the time, nobody had a more impressive victory, and it was then the most-watched game of the early season (and held everybody's attention to the very end).

Some others have emerged since then so it's only fair those teams have their say in the polls.

Mainly, though, I suspect the real lovefest with LSU was the drop-jawed look at an offense that has looked unstoppable.

It broke the stereotype.

It was the LSU many suspected had always been lurking under those monotonous 3 yards and endless clouds dust, a team finally taking full advantage of all that skill talent.

Yes, yes, imagine this kind of offense with LSU's always-stout defense and the sky's the limit.

Plus, Joe Burrow might be the coolest quarterback in college football.

From afar, that's still the narrative.

Up close, however, it's starting to look like all LSU did was join the Big 12, where defense is optional at best and 50-60 points is a stroll in the park.

It's taking some getting used to — and, to a degree, the Tigers are getting a free pass.

Right now I think the national take on LSU is that the Tigers are a ton of fun to watch and that they will eventually play defense because they're LSU.

They're probably right.

I remember thinking, after watching Auburn early in the season, that LSU's game with those Tigers would come down to whether Auburn would discover an offense or if LSU found its usual defense first.

Auburn scored 56 points against Mississippi State last week.

LSU was last seen giving up 38 points to Vanderbilt, even though the Tigers never really being threatened.

Yes, LSU finally has the offense to keep up in today's track-meet football, even to reach the playoff.

But it won't happen with that kind of defense, which frankly hasn't been championship caliber.

But I'd worry more about the polls if I was you.

LSU will be fine. Which it to say, the Tigers defense will be fine.

You run this kind of hurry-up, point-a-minute offense, there aren't going to be many single-digit defensive efforts.

But, believe it, LSU will get closer to the kind of defense it's become accustomed to.

This week will be a good test. You never heard of Utah State, perhaps, but the Aggies' speedy offense is a good test to see if the Tigers defense figured out anything during last week's open date.

I'm guessing they did.

There's too much talent and athleticism not to be better than they have shown. That part looks like LSU defense.

Oh, there have been injuries, four starters missing for all or most of the Vanderbilt game.

Defensive end Rashard Lawrence and pass-rush specialist K'Lavon Chaisson are back this week, so automatically the (lack of a) pass rush gets better. Glen Logan, the other defensive end, and linebacker Michael Divinity are likely back next week for Florida when the meat of the schedule kicks in.

But considering the competition outside of Texas, injuries would be a pretty lame excuse.

That defense has been more inconsistent that bad, giving up way too many big plays and forcing three-and-outs with equal abandon.

LSU spent this week experimenting in the secondary with moving lock-down cornerback Kristian Fulton to nickel back, where he can get more in the middle of the field and keep teams from avoiding him with their best receivers.

Good for them. Sounds like a typical chess-move adjustment by defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. It's probably more complicated than it sounds.

But, at its core, LSU has to tackle better if it's going to play tackle football.

The bad tackling has been the real head-scratcher. It's always been a strength with the Tigers. It's also 90 percent athleticism and the Tigers aren't lacking there.

So it, too, was a point of emphasis during LSU's break, head coach Ed Orgeron said.

My guess is that you'll see some positive results Saturday.

If so, LSU can become the team everybody thinks it already is.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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