College football season is over and the final polls are in. For the second time in as many seasons, but also for only the second time in school history, South Carolina finished in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll.
University president Harris Pastides
The Gamecocks (11-2), which finished the season with a 33-28 victory over Michigan in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day, was ranked No. 8 in the country in the final AP poll of the year that was released in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.
The ranking means that the Gamecocks achieved eight of their 10 goals that were established at the start of the season. The team missed out on winning the SEC East and SEC championship.
The final ranking is the highest in school history besting last season’s mark of ninth. The previous high was 11th, which was achieved following the 1984 season.
Five teams from the Southeastern Conference finished in the top nine. Alabama, of course, finished in the top spot with its 42-14 victory over Notre Dame to win its third national title in four years.
SEC East champion Georgia finished No. 5 in the rankings after knocking off Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. Texas A&M finished one spot behind the Bulldogs after its throttling of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. After a loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl, former No. 3 Florida finished the season ranked No. 9 in the AP poll.
Seven teams from the Southeastern Conference finished in the top 25 with LSU coming in at No. 14 and Vanderbilt registering in at No. 23. The Gamecocks faced six opponents ranked in the final top 25.
The Gamecocks also finished ranked No. 7 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll. Ohio State, which finished ranked No. 3 in the AP poll, was not considered for ranking in the that poll, which moved South Carolina up a spot.