BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — It's hard for the sixth-ranked LSU Tigers to argue they're being underrated and overlooked now.
Their circumstances have shifted markedly since August, when the program was surrounded by questions stemming from defensive player losses to the NFL, the offseason arrest of a top running back and an unproven passing game under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
The Tigers began the season ranked 12th, behind five other Southeastern Conference teams. Now, as LSU (3-0) enters its SEC schedule this Saturday night at home against Auburn, the "Bayou Bengals" are ranked below only one team in their league: No. 1 Alabama.
After three convincing wins, LSU coach Les Miles said is team is ready and eager for a league game against an Auburn team that has surprisingly also started 3-0.
"This is the kind of game we need," Miles said. "We recognize the conference we play in. Our team is ambitious. We're a team with real designs on the back end of the season. The time to work is now."
The offense under new coordinator Cam Cameron has looked as efficient as at any time since the 2007 national title team with Matt Flynn at quarterback. Zach Mettenberger has nine touchdowns passes and has eclipsed the 250-yard passing mark in each game.
Wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham have combined for 32 catches for 576 yards. Those two receivers have caught all nine of Mettenberger's touchdown passes. The top three tailbacks — Jeremy Hill, Terrence Magee and Alfred Blue — have combined for 530 rushing yards.
"We're building a great offense here," Landry said. "Each week, we correct the mental mistakes and we correct the physical mistakes. We watch tape each week and just try to get better. The execution is much better this year. Guys have a year under their belt. They are not nicked up. They are healthy."