The preseason Amway Coaches Poll was released Thursday. No, South Carolina did not make it. The Gamecocks did not receive any votes, which is not a surprise. After 57 straight weeks in the Top 25, South Carolina hasn’t played as a ranked team in 33 weeks of balloting.
However, there is some good news for the Gamecocks in the poll. It doesn’t make their schedule feel that daunting. South Carolina has the fifth-toughest schedule in the country, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index, but a look at the ranked teams it plays doesn’t correlate to that position.
If the coaches who vote on the poll are right, South Carolina will play only one of the nation’s 14 best teams this year, and that’s in-state rival Clemson, which came in at No. 5 one year after winning the national title. The only other ranked teams on the Gamecocks schedule are No. 15 Georgia, No. 16 Florida and No. 24 Tennessee.
That’s not exactly Murderer’s Row.
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Even in the “others receiving votes” category, it’s rare to find a South Carolina opponent. Texas A&M comes in at No. 31, with N.C. State at No. 33 and Louisiana Tech at No. 45. (The Associated Press poll, which is the official poll of the Gamecocks record-keeping, will be released Aug. 21.)
What all this means is that, while there aren’t many easy wins on the schedule for the Gamecocks given the current state of their program, there aren’t many immovable objects either.