The way-too-early Top 25s for 2014: Where the Gamecocks rank

GoGamecocks staff reportsJanuary 10, 2014 

South Carolina Gamecocks running back Mike Davis (28) looks for room to run in the fourth quarter of the Capital One Bowl game, Wednesday, January 1, 2014.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

South Carolina is ranked outside the Top 10 in most of the "way too early" Top 25 polls for 2014 that were released this week.

The Gamecocks are coming off their third-straight 11-2 season and a program-best No. 4 finish in both major national rankings.

National pundits often cited the losses of Connor Shaw and Jadeveon Clowney in the rationale behind their rankings. They also mentioned the return of Mike Davis and the experience of Dylan Thompson as reasons for optimism.

The San Jose Mercury News has USC the highest for 2014 at No. 6, saying the personnel losses are significant "but the Gamecocks are loaded everywhere else and figure to be the favorite in the SEC East."

USA Today, which projects the Gamecocks the lowest at No. 20, said: "In many ways, one could make the argument that USC will be weaker individually but just as strong as a team. But there's no question that each side of the ball needs a star to step forward."

Here is a roundup of where USC ranks in those early Top 25s, with links to the full reports and rankings:

... San Jose Mercury News: No. 6

... Orlando Sentinel: No. 10

... CBS: No. 11

... Sports Illustrated: No. 12

... ESPN: No. 13

... Bleacher Report: No. 14

... TheBigLead.com: No. 14

... Sports on Earth: No. 15

... National Football Post: No. 16

... LostLettermen.com: No. 17

... USA Today: No. 20

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