South Carolina will begin the 2013 season where it ended the 2012 season – at least in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
The Gamecocks were ranked No. 7 on Thursday when the preseason coaches poll was announced, the same spot they finished after last year’s 11-2 season.
It is unofficially the highest preseason ranking in school history as the Gamecocks official records use the Associated Press poll, which will be released later this month. South Carolina was ranked a program-best No. 9 in last year’s preseason coaches poll.
South Carolina was the fourth-highest ranked SEC team in the poll, behind No. 1 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 Texas A&M. The Gamecocks, who are ranked one spot ahead of in-state rival Clemson, have been ranked in the top 10 of the coaches poll 16 times since the beginning of 2011 season. South Carolina was ranked in the top 10 of the coaches poll only twice from 1991 to 2010.
South Carolina will face at least three teams this season who are ranked in the preseason poll – the No. 5 Bulldogs, No. 8 Tigers and No. 10 Florida.
The Gamecocks open preseason practice on Friday.
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