For the first time since 2010, South Carolina will open the college football season unranked. Before we get to that, take a moment to say a few kind words over the deceased streak that just ended. The Gamecocks were ranked entering each of the last four seasons – No. 12 in 2011, No. 9 in 2012, No. 6 in 2013 and No. 9 in 2014.
Prior to that run, the most consecutive preseason polls the Gamecocks had been ranked was two (2001 and 2002). In fact, from 1962 (the first year the team’s complete rankings history is available) through 2010, South Carolina was ranked in the preseason four times combined.
The preseason Associated Press poll was released Sunday. The Gamecocks were nowhere on it. Not even in the "others receiving votes." As we have discussed in this space before, I think it’s perfectly reasonable not to vote South Carolina in the Top 25 at the moment. I didn’t. (The Gamecocks received 18 points in the coaches preseason poll, which was good enough for 36th in the voting.)
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You’ve got a 7-6 team with plenty of questions, starting with the most important position on the field, quarterback. South Carolina will have time to work its way into the rankings, although it could take it while if it eventually does. Weeks 1 and 2 will be against North Carolina and Kentucky, not exactly resume builders. Week 3 is a different story. Georgia is ranked No. 9 in the preseason poll. If the Gamecocks win that that to go 3-0, they’ll be right back among the ranked.