Tigers meet preseason hype head on

If the expectations were unreasonable before, they're about to get a lot higher.

ESPN's preseason top 25 went public Friday, and to the surprise of few, LSU reigns as the nation's No. 1 team.

That's undoubtedly good news for a program that was starved for any kind of success just a decade ago. The Tigers spent nearly all of 2011 on top of the college football world, and even after a devastating setback, the Bayou Bengals are back as one of the sport's truly elite teams.

But what does a No. 1 ranking -- especially after such a disappointing finish to last season -- mean to the program? Pressure. A lot of pressure. Misguided or not, there's been a prevailing sentiment in Baton Rouge since Jan. 10 that the only way to wash away the sting of a 21-0 loss to Alabama is to turn around and claim the crystal ball next year in Miami.