Ranking the top 10 Gamecock teams of all time

GoGamecocks staff reportsJanuary 9, 2013 

South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Ace Sanders (1) celebrates with teammates after Dylan Thompson's touchdown throw in the fourth quarter of the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

South Carolina’s triumph in the Outback Bowl over Michigan continues the most successful run in school history. A look at the 10 best USC football teams:

1. 2012

RECORD: 11-2

COACH: STEVE SPURRIER

Winning 11 games for the second consecutive season, USC finished as the highest-ranked squad in school history, coming in No. 8 in the final Associated Press poll and seventh in the coaches poll.

2t. 2011

RECORD: 11-2

COACH: STEVE SPURRIER

The Capital One Bowl win against Nebraska gave USC its first 11-win season. Other firsts: USC won six SEC games and finished 5-0 against SEC East foes.

2t. 2000

RECORD: 8-4

COACH: LOU HOLTZ

A win in the opener ended a 21-game losing streak. A win a week later against No. 9 Georgia set the stage for a memorable year. The bowl romp over Ohio State provided a perfect finish.

4. 2001

RECORD: 9-3

COACH: LOU HOLTZ

The Gamecocks went 5-3 in the SEC and defeated three Top-25 teams. Beating Alabama is never bad. The Gamecocks made it back-to-back Outback Bowl wins against Ohio State.

5. 1984

RECORD: 10-2

COACH: JOE MORRISON

The Gamecocks won their first nine games before stumbling against a weak Navy team. Win that game and follow with a victory over Clemson, and USC would have played for the national championship.

6. 1987

RECORD: 8-4

COACH: JOE MORRISON

A play here or a play there, and perhaps this team would challenge for the best label. The Gamecocks took Nebraska and Miami, both ranked No. 2 at the time, to the wire.

7. 1980

RECORD: 8-4

COACH: JIM CARLEN

In George Rogers’ senior season, the Gamecocks beat Michigan in Ann Arbor, played Southern California tough in L.A. and had a shot at derailing Georgia’s march to the national title.

8. 1979

RECORD: 8-4

COACH: JIM CARLEN

A one-point loss at Notre Dame ranks among the Gamecocks’ toughest defeats. USC went 2-2 against ranked teams.

9. 1969

RECORD: 7-4

COACH: PAUL DIETZEL

The Gamecocks raced through the ACC undefeated to earn the league championship, but USC lost its two games against ranked teams (Georgia and Tennessee).

10. 1958

RECORD: 7-3

COACH: WARREN GIESE

This team that featured Alex Hawkins and King Dixon had the possibility of being really special, but two close losses spoiled the possibility of a major bowl.

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