What began as a promising college football season for South Carolina and Clemson ended with both programs ranked in the Associated Press top 10 for the first time. The Gamecocks in a poll released Tuesday morning are No. 4, the highest finish in school history. Clemson is No. 8.
The rest of the top 10 starts with No. 1 Florida State, No. 2 Auburn and No. 3 Michigan State. After South Carolina, Missouri is No. 5, Oklahoma No. 6 and Alabama No. 7.
Behind Clemson, No. 9 Oregon and No. 10 Central Florida round out the top 10.
South Carolina has finished in the AP top 10 only three times - but each of the last three seasons with back-to-back-to-back 11-2 records under head coach Steve Spurrier (No. 9 in 2011, No. 8 in 2012). The Gamecocks closed with a 34-24 victory over Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.
Clemson (11-2) won the Orange Bowl, defeating Ohio State, 40-35. The Tigers have finished in the top 10 five times previously: No. 6 in 1978, No. 1 as national champions in 1981, No. 8 in 1982, No. 9 in 1988 and No. 9 in 1990.
South Carolina this season defeated three top 10 teams - No. 5 Missouri, No. 8 Clemson and No. 10 Central Florida.
- Gene Sapakoff