Gamecocks ranked ninth, Tigers 16th in first AP poll

usc-clemlogosSouth Carolina football team enters the 2014 season ranked ninth in the Associated Press preseason poll, released today. The Gamecocks were also ranked ninth in the preseason USA Today Coaches poll, released earlier this month. Carolina finished the 2013 season ranked fourth in both major polls.

The Gamecocks, coming off three straight 11-2 campaigns, received 1,015 points to place ninth. Florida State garnered 57 of the 60 first place votes and sits atop the poll with 1,496 points, just ahead of Alabama (1,361), Oregon (1,334) and Oklahoma (1,324), all of which received one first place vote. Ohio State (1,207) rounds out the top 5.

Auburn (1,198), UCLA (1,106), Michigan State (1,080) are ranked sixth thru eighth, just ahead of the Gamecocks, with Baylor (966) rounding out the top 10.

The Gamecocks are slated to play five teams that open the season in the top 25 including Auburn (6), Georgia (12). Texas A&M (21) and Missouri (24), and non-conference rival Clemson (16), .

Clemson was ranked 16th in the preseason Associated Press College Football Poll released on Sunday, August 17.  The ranking matches Clemson’s number-16 ranking in the preseason USA Today poll released on July 31.

“I think it is a good place to start,” said Head Coach Dabo Swinney.  “With two of our first three games against top 12 teams on the road we will have a chance to improve on that (ranking) early in the season.  We look at those games at Georgia and at Florida State as an opportunity, but we will obviously have to play well.”

Overall, Clemson has five games against teams ranked in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 and three of those contests will be played before the end of September.  In addition to games against #12 Georgia on August 30 and at #1 Florida State on September 20, the Tigers play host to #23 North Carolina on September 27, and #9 South Carolina on November 29.

This marks the third consecutive year Clemson has been ranked in the preseason top 16 of the Associated Press Poll.  Clemson was 14th in the preseason for 2012 and eighth last year. Clemson finished 11th and eighth, respectively, according to AP each of the last two years. This is the first time Clemson has been ranked in the preseason for at least three consecutive years since a streak of eight years in a row from 1987-94.

This marks the first time in school history that the Gamecocks have been ranked in the AP preseason top 25 (or top 12) in four straight seasons. Only five schools – Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, South Carolina and LSU – have been in preseason AP Top 12 each of last four years. Carolina has improved its AP pre-season poll finish in the final rankings in each of last four years.

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