Josh Kendall

Kendall’s Morning Meeting: Would you vote USC in Top 25?

gmelendez@thestate.com

Ballots for the Associated Press’ preseason Top 25 were due Monday.

I didn’t vote South Carolina in my Top 25, and my first question is: Does anybody think I should have? If you’ve got a rational argument for why you think the Gamecocks deserve a Top 25 vote, email me or Tweet me or leave me a note below, and I’d love to discuss it with you. Seriously.

My reasons for leaving South Carolina out probably are obvious. You’ve got a team coming off a 7-6 season that, among other things, must replace the player who set the school’s single-season passing record a year ago. The only thing the defense has proven is that it wasn’t very good last year.

The AP poll will be released Aug. 23, and I’ll be interested to see if the Gamecocks get any votes. They did in the coaches poll, which came out last week. It’s impossible to say how many votes South Carolina received. It had 18 points, meaning one coach voted the Gamecocks No. 17 or, more likely, a few voted them lower in the poll.

The coaches poll is a funny thing, though. There’s a lot of potential for self-serving voting, particularly lower in the poll. For instance, if you’re Steve Spurrier, who votes in the poll, why wouldn’t you vote your team high? In fact, how can you publicly proclaim optimism in your group and then tell them you didn’t vote for them in the Top 25? Or how about North Carolina coach Larry Fedora, who also has a vote? Why not vote South Carolina into the poll? Then, if you win, you can talk about how good a team the Gamecocks are?

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