The Daily Gamecock

Football nabs highest preseason ranking ever

Gamecocks land at No. 6 in the preseason AP poll

Over the last three years, the South Carolina football team has had a lot of firsts. This past Saturday, the Gamecocks added another first to the list.

In the season’s first Associated Press football poll, USC was tabbed as the No. 6 team in the country, the team’s highest preseason ranking in school history. It is the Gamecocks’ second straight top-10 preseason ranking. Last season, USC was ranked No. 9 in the preliminary poll and finished the season with the No. 8 ranking, which was also a program-best.

The Gamecock’s are coming off of their second straight 11-win season and have also won 12 home games in a row.

USC earned the historic ranking despite having to replace most of its defense in 2013-14. However, the team does return most of its offensive firepower, including quarterbacks Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson.

As expected, head coach Steve Spurrier, who is entering his ninth season as the Gamecocks’ coach, took a cautious approach to the preseason ranking.

“I hope we can live up to it,” Spurrier said. “It’s flattering. I don’t know if we can live up to it or not, but we’ll try.”

Alabama received 58 of 60 first-place votes to easily take the top spot in the poll. Georgia was ranked No. 5 in the poll with one first-place vote, while archrival Clemson was ranked eighth.

USC will put that lofty preseason ranking to the test in just one week when it hosts North Carolina next Thursday in a primetime matchup that kicks off the beginning of the college football season.

Earlier this month, the Gamecocks were ranked No. 7 in the first USA Today/Coaches Poll of the season.