For the first time in more than three years, the University of South Carolina football team has made an appearance in the national rankings. Second-year head coach Will Muschamp’s Gamecocks (8-3, 5-3 SEC) are ranked No. 24 according to the latest College Football Playoff (CFP) poll, released on Tuesday.
Is this a big deal? Yes.
South Carolina was ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams for a school-record 69 consecutive polls beginning in September 2010. After a 21-20 loss to Missouri on September 27, 2014, though, the Gamecocks were bounced from the Top 25 – and haven’t been back since.
Until now, that is …
Starting a new streak won’t be easy. South Carolina faces arch-rival and defending national champion Clemson at home on Saturday. Last year head coach Dabo Swinney’s Tigers (10-1, 7-1 ACC) shredded the Gamecocks 56-7 to claim their third consecutive victory in this series. In May, South Carolina sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley poured fuel on the fire when he told a reporter that “everyone knew that they weren’t that much better than us or better than us at all.”
The No. 3 Tigers – vying for their third consecutive appearance in the CFP – have been installed as fourteen point favorites over the Gamecocks in this year’s installment of the “Palmetto Bowl.” That spread seems a bit high to us for a rivalry game, but we’ll see.
Saturday’s kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST with ESPN providing national coverage. The Palmetto State’s two major programs have played 114 times (107 times consecutively), with the Tigers enjoying a 68-42-4 all-time series advantage.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our stories? Please feel free to submit your own guest column or letter to the editor via-email HERE. Got a tip for us? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question? CLICK HERE. Want to support what we’re doing? SUBSCRIBE HERE.
Banner: Travis Bell Photography