The AP gave voters in its college football poll a chance to resubmit their preseason ballots after LSU booted star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu a little more than a week ago.
I kept the Tigers No. 1 on my ballot.
I reconsidered the angles. Mathieu’s value falls far beyond his coverage skills. He is a turnover-creating machine (four interceptions, 11 forced fumbles, eight recoveries in 26 career games) and a playmaker capable of turning a game at any moment. Witness his punt returns that led LSU rallies from double-digit deficits vs. Arkansas and then Georgia in the SEC title game.
Yeah, the Tigers will miss that.
On the other hand …
LSU still has great overall size and athleticism on defense (Mathieu might have actually been the runt of the litter physically). The Tigers still have arguably, the best combination of offensive and defensive lines in the country. They have super depth in the running game. Their quarterback play should be improved with the Zach Mettenberger taking the reins.