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July 1, 2014

The silly season: Magazine rankings

It's the silly season in the college sporting world, as most of us are or have taken to beaches, pools, lakes or mountains to get away from the world for a while, and if you're a college football fan, you've likely already begun, if not completed, your yearly collection of preseason magazines.

I'm at five myself and thought it would be fun to collect their preseason rankings this week for your enjoyment.

Today I'll list the five preseason rankings, with any notes about the Gamecocks included, then tomorrow and Thursday I'll do the offensive and defensive player and unit rankings, respectively.

Of the five magazines I surveyed -- Phil Steele, Athlon, Lindy's, The Sporting News and USA TODAY -- the Gamecocks are in the Top 10 in every poll but one (USA TODAY, which has USC a disappointing 21st).

Also, you may enjoy how little faith the preseason polls have in the team from the Upstate.

Let's go!

Phil Steele's 2014 College Football Preview
1. Florida State
2. Alabama
3. Ohio State
4. Oklahoma
5. UCLA
6. Oregon
7. Georgia
8. Baylor
9. Auburn
10. South Carolina
Steve Spurrier is doing a great job and this could be the year he finally breaks through. This team has finished in the Top 10 THREE straight years getting closer each year (#9, #8 and #4) and they lose a grand total of 10 lettermen (85.3% returning, #1 FBS) from that '13 squad! They get Georgia at home Sept. 13 and while they lose a few key players (every team loses a few), they have solid replacements and are a more veteran team.
11. Michigan State
12. Southern Cal
13. Wisconsin
14. TCU
15. LSU
16. Mississippi
17. Notre Dame
18. North Carolina
19. Marshall
20. Stanford
21. UCF
22. Boise State
23. Clemson
24. Florida
25. Texas

Athlon Sports
1. Florida State
2. Alabama
3. Ohio State
4. Oklahoma
5. Auburn
6. Oregon
7. UCLA
8. Georgia
9. South Carolina
10. Baylor
11. Michigan State
12. Stanford
13. Notre Dame
14. Southern Cal
15. Wisconsin
16. Arizona State
17. Texas
18. Mississippi
19. LSU
20. Kansas State
21. Clemson
22. Penn State
23. Florida
24. Washington
25. Missouri

Sporting News
1. Oklahoma
2. Oregon
3. Florida State
4. Alabama
5. Auburn
6. Stanford
7. Baylor
8. UCLA
9. Ohio State
10. South Carolina
Who in their right mind would think South Carolina, a habitually underachieving program before Steve Spurrier's arrival, would get bored with 11-win seasons? The Gamecocks could easily make it four in a row this fall, especially if QB Dylan Thompson becomes the one thing Spurrier hasn't had in his time in Columbia: a true thrower of a quarterback.
11. LSU
12. Michigan State
13. Arizona State
14. Notre Dame
15. Georgia
16. Southern Cal
17. Nebraska
18. Texas A&M
19. Wisconsin
20. Mississippi
21. Washington
22. Florida
23. Texas
24. North Carolina
25. UCF

Lindy's
1. Florida State
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma
4. Oregon
5. Ohio State
6. Auburn
7. Michigan State
8. UCLA
9. South Carolina
Three consecutive seasons with 11 victories and three consecutive seasons finishintg in the AP Top 10 are high-water marks for the program. Ans Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks aren't just renting in this exclusive college football neighborhood; they're buying. But you know it chaps the Head Ball Coach that he's been locked out of the SEC penthouse while at South Carolina, failing to take home the championship he won six times in a decade at Florida, the last in 2000.
THE GOOD NEWS: With Mike Davis running behind a talented, experienced line, South Carolina will churn out SEC-tough yards when needed. New starting QB Dylan Thompson has big-game experience, is in his fifth year in the system and has a deep group of wideouts to help.
THE BAD NEWS: The defensive line is less stout - and a lot more boring - without end Jadeveon Clowney and tackle Kelcy Quarles. And the defensive line might not be the biggest concern on defense. That would be the cornerback position.
OUR CALL: We know a trend when we see it. With 16 starters returning, we don't see a need to change the baseline - 11 wins (with a bowl) and a top 10 finish.

10. Baylor
11. LSU
12. Georgia
13. Stanford
14. Wisconsin
15. Southern Cal
16. Kansas State
17. Clemson
18. Ole Miss
19. Notre Dame
20. Michigan
21. Nebraska
22. Texas
23. Washington
24. Cincinnati
25. Florida

USA TODAY
1. Florida State
2. Ohio State
3. Alabama
4. Oregon
5. Auburn
6. Michigan State
7. Oklahoma
8. Georgia
9. Stanford
10. UCLA
11. LSU
12. Baylor
13. Kansas State
14. Nebraska
15. Wisconsin
16. Notre Dame
17. Duke
18. Texas A&M
19. Marshall
20. Southern Cal
21. South Carolina
22. Clemson
23. Boise State
24. Texas
25. Florida

Coming tomorrow: Offensive unit rankings!

***WANT TO BECOME AN INSIDER? CHECK OUT THIS CONTENT FOR GCC SUBSCRIBERS:

RECRUITING: We break down which prospect at each position is most likely to sign with USC

TEAM SCOOP: No such thing as the offseason; get the latest on top performers in USC's summer strength/conditioning program



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