BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -When LSU plays host to No. 9 Florida on Saturday, they will be carrying the top ranking in college football.
It's been nearly 50 years since a top-ranked LSU team has played a football game. On Nov. 7, 1959, the Tigers took on Tennessee in Knoxville as the top-ranked team but dropped a 14-13 decision to the Volunteers and lost the No. 1 spot.
On Monday, the LSU players weren't that excited about carrying the No. 1 ranking going into the weekend matchup against the Gators.
``The top ranking doesn't mean anything,'' safety Craig Steltz said. ``It's just a number right now. They say we're No. 1, so we have to prove it this week. If we lose this week, being No. 1 won't mean anything.''
The Tigers swapped places in the rankings with Southern California after sleepwalking through the first half of Saturday's 34-9 road victory against Tulane. The Trojans struggled in their 27-24 victory against Washington.
``I was kind of surprised that we moved ahead of USC after the game we played,'' Steltz said. ``It just happened. I guess it's a tribute to this team.''
LSU fell behind the Green Wave by two points late in the first half. The Tigers regained the lead at 10-9 on a Colt David field in the final seconds of the second quarter. After halftime, the Tigers scored 24 unanswered points.
On Monday, coach Les Miles was far more concerned about his team's improvement than with the top ranking.
``Anybody that voted us No. 1 obviously didn't get up and watch us play Saturday,'' Miles said. ``We have to come to work and prepare. We have a lot to improve on and a lot to accomplish.
Quarterback Matt Flynn did not know he was leading the top-ranked team in the nation until Monday morning.
``I didn't know we were No. 1 until someone told me,'' Flynn said. ``I don't look into rankings that much. I don't focus on that.''
Center Brett Helms agreed. ``As a player, you can't look at the rankings. You just play it one game at a time.''
Undoubtedly, the Tigers' first challenge as the top-ranked team will be huge. Defending national champion Florida will visit Tiger Stadium after having an 11-game winning streak ended by Auburn 20-17.
``We have to focus on every game,'' cornerback Chevis Jackson said. ``Now we have to go out and play like a No. 1 team. We have an X on our back now.''

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