POSTED: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 11:04pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 1:08am
Baton Rouge, La (NBC33) — If there is one thing that's true, preseason polls mean very little to coaches and players; it's the rankings that come at the end of the season that matter.
Nonetheless, a Top 25 ranking here in January gives both the media and fans something to talk about.
Coach Paul Mainieri and his Tigers grabbed the number 8 spot in the Baseball America Top 25 Poll released today.
The Tigers are one of eight SEC teams in the preseason poll.
LSU missed the postseason all together last year, and they also lost All-American outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
However, a stellar pitching staff is back and the leadership and bats of Austin Nola and Mason Katz hope to carry the Tigers back to the tournament and back to Omaha.
Nola stated, "We are honored to be in the Top Ten. It means that people think highly of us, but it is just the preseason. We have a lot of work to do. It's just polls; we still have to go out there and do our best, and once we do that, the polls will take care of themselves at the end of the day."
The Tigers officially start practice on Friday, and their first game is set for Febuary 17 against Air Force.
Over on the softball diamond, the LSU softball team was tabbed as the 20th best team preseason-wise, according to the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll.
The ladies, like the men, return several arms that should put opponents’ runs at a premium.
First-year head coach Beth Torina and her girls have their work cut out for them. They'll play 20 games against Top 25 teams.
They'll also take on five teams that went to the Women's College World Series a year ago.
The Lady Tigers are just 17 days away from their season opener against Penn State.
The high rankings bring high expectations: only time will tell if the Tigers live up to it.