I'm pretty sure this article from Wikipedia sums it up best:
The AP Poll began in 1936. The Coaches' Poll began in 1950.
LSU has appeared in 30 final AP Polls, with an average final rank of 10.03. Only eleven teams have had more appearances (Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, and USC).
Thus far in the 2000s, LSU has appeared in 5 final AP Polls, with an average final rank of 10.60. Only five teams have more appearances (Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma, and Texas).
There were only two decades when LSU had more final AP appearances than they do this decade:
In the 1960s, LSU appeared in 6 final AP Polls, with an average final rank of 9.17. Only five teams had more appearances (Alabama, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Texas, and USC).
In the 1980s, LSU appeared in 6 final AP Polls, with an average final rank of 13.33. Only eleven teams had more appearances (Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, UCLA, and USC).
I'm pretty sure that final rankings do count for something and as you can see looks like our not so traditionally good team has appeared in quite a number of them at a descently high rank at that.
2 National Championships, 9 SEC Championships, and an overall bowl record of 19-18-1.
Overall in the regular season since 1945 we are 413-226-23.
Anymore numbers I need to present to show we have a pretty rich tradition in college football?
And yes Bama does have a great past and one of the best programs historically in the nation. Guess what though it dont mean squat for this season
And if we are not "up to speed" why did we beat two of those three schools you have listed last season?