South Carolina's football team on Tuesday was ranked No. 9 in the final Associated Press poll -- the Gamecocks' highest final ranking ever, surpassing No. 11 in 1984.
USC beat Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl to finish 11-2 for its first 11-win season. The Gamecocks' only previous 10-win season was 10-2 in 1984.
"This is another first that we're proud of -- another goal reached," USC head coach Steve Spurrier said in a statement released by the school. "There's still some room higher than that, and we'll shoot for that next year."
Last season, USC achieved a final AP ranking of No. 22. This is the second time the Gamecocks have finished ranked in back-to-back seasons. In 2000 and 2001, they were No. 19 and No. 13. The only other season in which they finished ranked was 1987, when they were No. 15.
In this year's final USA Today coaches' poll, the Gamecocks were No. 8.
Clemson was ranked 22nd in both polls. The Tigers beat Virginia Tech to claim their first ACC championship in 20 years, but suffered a 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl to finish with a 10-4 record.