Best finish in history: Gamecocks end season with No. 4 ranking

dcloninger@thestate.comJanuary 7, 2014 

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said the Gamecocks are ‘The national champion of the bowl season.’ USC beat six bowl winners, including two that won BCS bowl games.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

South Carolina finished a stellar season with another school record – its highest postseason ranking in history.

The Gamecocks checked in at No. 4 in the final Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today Top 25 coaches poll released early Tuesday morning. The final vote didn’t drop BCS National Championship Game loser Auburn (No. 2) any spots, but other shakeups in the Top 10 elevated USC four spots to No. 4.

It’s the highest postseason ranking in history for USC, and one of its highest-ever rankings. The Gamecocks were ranked No. 2 in 1984, and No. 3 as recently as the 2012 season.

“Being ranked No. 4 in both major polls is an honor for the University of South Carolina and for our football program,” said head coach Steve Spurrier. “Thanks to the players for achieving another 11-2 record. Thanks also to the coaches, the support staff and our fans for their contributions. Also thanks to the voters for thinking so highly of us. We are very appreciative and thankful for being the highest–ranked team in school history and hope to do better next year.”

USC, which was No. 8 before beating Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl, finished No. 8 last year. Another 11-2 season had the Gamecocks remain firmly in the Top 10, and they achieved another milestone.

This is the ninth time that Carolina has finished the season ranked in the final Associated Press poll and the third-straight top-10 finish. Here are USC's postseason AP rankings: 1958 (13), 1984 (11), 1987 (15); 2000 (19); 2001 (13); 2010 (22); 2011 (9); 2012 (8); 2013 (4).

A few highlights of season:

-- South Carolina is one of only three schools, joining Alabama and Oregon, to finish in the AP Top 10 in each of the last three seasons.

-- South Carolina defeated six teams that won its bowl game: Clemson (Orange), UCF (Fiesta), Missouri (Cotton), North Carolina (Belk), Mississippi State (Liberty) and Vanderbilt (BBVA Compass).

-- South Carolina was the only team to have two wins over BCS teams (Clemson and UCF) prior to the bowl games.

-- South Carolina has been ranked in the AP Top 25 for 64 consecutive weeks, tying Stanford for the fifth-longest active streak in the nation.

-- South Carolina is one of only four schools, joining Alabama, Oregon and Northern Illinois, to win 11 games in each of the last three seasons.

-- South Carolina has won three-straight New Year’s Day bowl games, defeating Nebraska, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Texas A&M visits USC on Aug. 28 to open the 2014 college football season.

Final AP Top 25

Record   PtsPv
1. Florida St. (60)14-01,5001
2. Auburn12-21,4282
3. Michigan St.13-11,3854
4. South Carolina   11-21,2478
5. Missouri12-21,2369
6. Oklahoma11-21,205   11
7. Alabama11-21,1143
8. Clemson11-21,07812
9. Oregon11-297410
10. UCF12-195915
11. Stanford11-39365
12. Ohio St.12-28167
13. Baylor11-27786
14. LSU10-371714
15. Louisville12-169318
16. UCLA10-363217
17. Oklahoma St.10-359813
18. Texas A&M9-445920
19. Southern Cal10-4299NR
20. Notre Dame9-425625
21. Arizona St.10-425516
22. Wisconsin9-424519
23. Duke10-419022
24. Vanderbilt9-4117NR
25. Washington9-4109NR

Others receiving votes: Nebraska 107, Fresno State 57, Northern Illinois 22, North Dakota State 17, Texas Tech 14, Georgia 13, Iowa 13, Ole Miss 10, Kansas State 8, Arizona 5, Navy 3, East Carolina 2, Utah State 2, Mississippi State 1

Final USA Today Top 25 coaches poll

Record   PtsPvs
1. Florida State (59)14-014751
2. Auburn12-21388   2
3. Michigan State13-113754
4. South Carolina   11-212198
5. Missouri12-212009
6. Oklahoma11-2118910
7. Clemson11-2109111
8. Alabama11-210863
9. Oregon11-297512
10. Stanford11-38727
10. Ohio State12-28726
12. Central Florida12-186515
13. Baylor11-27965
14. LSU10-371914
15. Louisville12-170316
16. UCLA10-359718
17. Oklahoma State10-358713
18. Texas A&M9-444321
19. USC10-4313NR
20. Arizona State10-430217
21. Wisconsin9-426619
22. Duke10-420221
23. Vanderbilt9-4180NR
24. Notre Dame9-4125NR
25. Nebraska9-4123NR

Others Receiving Votes: Washington 67; Fresno State 54; Northern Illinois 21; Marshall 17; Texas Tech 13; Kansas State 11; Mississippi 7; Texas 4; Miami (Fla.) 4; East Carolina 3; Cincinnati 3; Arizona 2; North Texas 2; Utah State 2; Navy 1; Louisiana-Lafayette 1.

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