LSU’s No. 1 Ranking In Danger With Loss To No. 77 Louisiana; Other SEC Teams Having Disastrous Seasons After Elite 2022 Campaigns

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BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 1 LSU had just cut it to 8-5 in the bottom of the ninth on a two-run home run by Tre Morgan. And the nation’s leading hitter and possible No. 1 pick in the next draft, Dylan Crews, stepped up with an average over .500.

But Louisiana reliever Cooper Rawls struck out Crews looking, and he is now batting .500. After a single by national RBI leader Tommy White (12 HRs, 62 RBIs), Rawls struck out Cade Beloso (.381) and Jared Jones (.364, 11 HRs) to end the game. The mighty Caseys had struck out and fell 8-5 Tuesday night at Alex Box Stadium.

LSU center fielder Dylan Crews has led the nation in hitting most of this season as he has hovered around .500. He is projected to be one of the first picks in the first round of the MLB Draft this summer (Getty Images).

The Tigers, No. 1 all season in every poll, dropped to 29-7 with their first loss on a weeknight since April 26 of last year at New Orleans. Five of the Tigers’ losses have come in SEC games. But they have not lost an SEC series, which is largely why they have remained No. 1 along with their schedule and high Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) standing at No. 4.

LSU Has Stayed No. 1 Because Of RPI

LSU has maintained its No. 1 ranking even though it trails five teams in the superpower SEC standings – No. 4 ranked Vanderbilt (29-8, 13-2, 6 RPI), No. 3 Florida (31-7, 11-4, 10 RPI), No. 5 Arkansas (30-7, 11-4, 5 RPI), No. 6 South Carolina (31-6, 10-4, 2 RPI) and No. 13 Kentucky (29-7, 10-5, 1 RPI).

LSU’s previous losses came to RPI No. 58 Iowa, 12-4, on Saturday, Feb. 25, 8-6 at No. 44 Texas A&M, 9-3 in 10 innings to No. 5 Arkansas, 14-7 to No. 41 Tennessee, 13-5 at No. 2 South Carolina and 13-10 to No. 1 Kentucky.

But Louisiana (26-12) came in with a No. 77 RPI that is now at 64.

“This opportunity doesn’t get any better,” Louisiana coach Matt Deggs said after the Cajuns’ first win over a No. 1 team since beating LSU, 4-1, in 2014. “That’s one of the better ballclubs I’ve seen in years over there. They’ve got a little bit of everything. They’ve got a lot of everything.”

But the Tigers have only No. 52 RPI Ole Miss (21-16) this weekend to play to try to make up for the loss. The Rebels are last in the SEC at 3-12 after winning the national championship last season. So, LSU could finally drop from No. 1 without a three-game sweep, or maybe with one.

“It’s just like a lot of the SEC games,” LSU second-year coach Jay Johnson said after the loss, even though it’s not quite. “If you’re playing a good team and make mistakes, a great team capitalizes on them.”

The Cajuns were great Tuesday night, and maybe they should be higher in the RPI. They are tied for second place in the Sun Belt Conference with No. 20 RPI Southern Mississippi (22-13) at 10-5, trailing only No. 11 RPI Coastal Carolina (23-11, 11-4). Johnson called Louisiana one of the fastest teams he has ever seen.

“We were, frankly, lucky to get out of a lot of it with eight runs allowed, to be honest with you,” Johnson said.

The Tigers Could Not Contain Louisiana Bats

Five LSU pitchers allowed 14 hits with two-run home runs to Heath Hood and Conor Higgs for a 4-2 lead in the third and an 8-3 advantage in the seventh, respectively. The Cajuns left 11 on base.

The good news for LSU – whether it falls in the rankings or not – is that the Cajuns may be the best team it plays until the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama, May 23-28. The Tigers do not play a ranked SEC team team or one even close to .500 in the league the rest of the way. After Ole Miss, LSU hosts Alabama (26-12, 6-9), plays at Auburn (21-15, 5-10), hosts Mississippi State (22-15, 5-10), and plays at Georgia (20-17, 4-11).

So if it falls, LSU could be back to No. 1 soon and move up in the SEC standings.

“The most important thing is to get to the next thing,” Johnson said. “Sometimes the internal pain from losing the game, I don’t need to project on the players. What am I going to say to the offense?”

LSU leads the nation in on-base percentage (.584) and runs (10.3 a game) and is third in slugging percentage (.584) and fifth in batting average (.328).

“That they need to be better than the best hitting team I’ve seen in 25 years? I think they need to move on to the next game,” Johnson said.

SEC’s Best From 2022 Struggling

Amazingly, some of the best SEC teams from 2022 seem – on paper – ready to move on to the next season.

“We’re close but not close enough,” national champion Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said after a 1-8 start that was just getting started. “I sound like a broken record, but this league is just so unforgiving. And if you don’t play well, you don’t win.”

Bianco’s Rebels opened the season ranked No. 4. They did finish the SEC regular season last year tied for eighth at 14-16 and were the last team in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field before winning it all. But at 3-12 in the league at the moment, double-digit SEC wins seems impossible.

“Even though you play 30 of them, it comes down to who plays the best the most, and we haven’t done that enough, obviously,” Bianco said.


Tennessee won the SEC at 25-5 last year and spent virtually all of last season at No. 1 before an upset loss to Notre Dame in the Super Regional. It opened this year at No. 2, but is third to last in the SEC now at 5-10.

Auburn reached the College World Series last year. It finds itself tied with Tennessee at 5-10. Texas A&M won the SEC West last year at 19-11 and made it to the CWS. The Aggies are 7-8 in the SEC now.

“The teams in this league,” Bianco said, “are too good.”


THURSDAY – No. 5 Arkansas at Georgia, 7 p.m., SEC Network; No. 3 Florida at No. 6 South Carolina, 7:30 p.m., ESPNU.

FRIDAY – No. 4 Vanderbilt at Tennessee, 6 p.m., SEC Network. All other games on SEC Network + – No. 5 Arkansas at Georgia, 6 p.m.; Texas A&M at No. 13 Kentucky, 6:30 p.m.; No. 3 Florida at No. 6 South Carolina, 7 p.m.; Mississippi State at Auburn, 7 p.m.; Alabama at Missouri, 7 p.m.; No. 1 LSU at Ole Miss, 7:30 p.m.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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