South Carolina is No. 12 in The Associated Press college football poll, the highest preseason ranking in school history.
The Gamecocks were No. 12 in the preseason USA Today coaches poll, also a high for the preseason.
South Carolina previously has started five seasons ranked. In those seasons, it has finished ranked once.
Oklahoma will start out top-ranked in the AP poll for the 10th time, more than any program in the country. The defending Big 12 champions received 36 of 60 first-place votes and 1,464 points in the Top 25 released Saturday.
Auburn, last season's national champion, will start the season No. 23, one spot behind where it began in 2010.
If the rankings are any indication, the national title race could be a scramble.
No. 2 Alabama, one of a record eight Southeastern Conference teams in the preseason poll, wasn't far behind OU, receiving 17 first-place votes and 1,439 points.
No. 3 Oregon got four first-place votes, No. 4 LSU received one and No. 5 Boise State got two.
The SEC has won five straight BCS title games and has plenty of candidates to make it six.
South Carolina (No. 12), Arkansas (No. 15), Georgia (No. 19), Mississippi State (No. 20) and Florida (No. 22) give the SEC more teams in the preseason poll than any previous conference.
The Big Ten placed four teams in the rankings with Wisconsin (No. 11), Michigan State (No. 17) and Ohio St. (No. 18) joining Nebraska.
With No. 21 Missouri, the Big 12 had four teams, too.
The Pac-12 had three teams, with No. 25 Southern California joining Oregon and Stanford.
The Atlantic Coast Conference placed two teams (Florida State and No. 13 Virginia Tech), as did the Mountain West Conference (Boise State and No. 14 TCU)
The Big East, which finished last season with no ranked teams, had one team in the preseason poll, No. 24 West Virginia.
Notable by its absence is Texas. Coming off a 5-7 season, the Longhorns are missing from the preseason Top 25 for the first time since 1998.
AP Top 25
The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football preseason poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 2010 records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and 2010 final ranking:
|1. Oklahoma (36)||12-2||1,464||6|
|2. Alabama (17)||10-3||1,439||10|
|3. Oregon (4)||12-1||1,330||3|
|4. LSU (1)||11-2||1,286||8|
|5. Boise St. (2)||12-1||1,200||9|
|6. Florida St.||10-4||1,168||17|
|8. Texas A&M||9-4||965||19|
|9. Oklahoma St.||11-2||955||13|
|12. South Carolina||9-5||848||22|
|13. Virginia Tech||11-3||821||16|
|16. Notre Dame||8-5||530||NR|
|17. Michigan St.||11-2||519||14|
|18. Ohio St.||12-1||443||5|
|20. Mississippi St.||9-4||361||15|
|24. West Virginia||9-4||207||NR|
|25. Southern Cal||8-5||160||NR|
Others receiving votes: Texas 114, Penn St. 75, Arizona St. 67, Miami 32, Utah 25, Southern Miss. 20, Iowa 19, BYU 15, NC State 15, Air Force 14, Houston 13, Pittsburgh 9, Michigan 7, Tennessee 5, UCF 5, Hawaii 4, N. Illinois 4, Tulsa 3, Arizona 2, Maryland 2, Nevada 1, Northwestern 1, Washington 1.