Gamecocks To Be Ranked Entering the 2018 season

COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 9: Deebo Samuel /

That little number next to your team’s name indicating where they are ranked sets your team apart from the over 100 teams below. I recall when USC became ranked more or less consistently from 2010-‘14. For the first couple of weeks, the little fluctuating number looked out of place next to the Gamecocks perpetually mediocre name. Then, I became accustomed to it.

Some digital ranking or other remained with South Carolina until the Missouri loss in 2014. The SCAR logo looked depressingly vacant without a ranking. Gamecock nation had taken their newfound success for granted. I speak for all SC fans when I say we immensely missed being ranked.

Over two complete seasons passed. Then, in the twilight of the 2017 season, an eight-win Gamecocks squad earned a #24 ranking on the eve of the Palmetto Bowl. Although they would lose it after the subsequent 34-10 drubbing, all indicators point out that USC will be ranked entering the 2018 season. Sporting News ranked Carolina at #23 in its preseason poll. ESPN ranked the up-and-coming Cocks at #25.

Although no doubt lower tier, a ranking says a lot about a team. Rankings separate the nobodies from the somebodies. If the 130th team in America plays the 26th team, at first glance, no one knows who to favor. Just a couple of squabbling scrubs, nothing to see here.

But if that 26th team goes up by just a single ranking, they mean something. They’re one of the big kids on the block, not just another face in the crowd. Historically, Carolina has struggled immensely to earn respect from the media. I believe the run from 2010-2014 helped, if only for the team’s sheer grit. The Gamecocks have momentum on their side. They knocked off the winningest program in college football in the Outback Bowl. If they can capitalize on their newfound recognition, they’ll only garner even more respect as their successes snowball.