Last week, a CBS Sports panel study showed more faith in Clemson's football program going forward than South Carolina. ESPN.com followed suit Wednesday.
In its annual "future power rankings" column projecting team success from 2014-16, ESPN Insider rated Clemson No. 11 for the next three-year period, leading some pretty big-name programs, not the least of which stood South Carolina at No. 18.
The five-man panel was led by ESPN college football writer Travis Haney, a former Post and Courier beat writer who penned the explanations for each team. Other voters were Brad Edwards, Brock Huard, Tom Luginbill and Mark Schlabach.
The formula broke down by assessing coaching (27.5 percent of the points), current talent (27.5 percent), program power (20 percent), recruiting (15 percent) and title path (10 percent), each on a 1-10 scale.
The Tigers scored an overall 78.1 points out of 100, percentage points behind No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 10 Texas. Clemson edged out Texas A&M, Oregon, Florida and Stanford, UCLA, Michigan State and the Gamecocks (74.45 points.)
"Schools that are committed to winning often do just that," Haney wrote. "That's why Clemson, which just won its first BCS bowl game, is ranked as highly as it is."
Alabama topped the list at No. 1, followed by Florida State, Ohio State, LSU and Auburn in the top five. Clemson has defeated each of the latter four teams within the past three years.
Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Georgia, Notre Dame and Texas rounded out the top 10. In the past three seasons, Clemson is 6-2 against teams ranked in ESPN's future top 10; South Carolina is 2-3. Both programs take on Georgia in 2014, while Clemson visits Florida State and South Carolina goes to Auburn.
In ESPN's first version of this project in the summer of 2013, Clemson checked in at No. 13 and South Carolina at No. 15. The gap increased in round two, despite the Gamecocks running their winning streak over their in-state rival to five straight years and outranking the Tigers 4 to 8 in the final Associated Press poll.
South Carolina takes on Clemson at Death Valley on Nov. 29.