Gamecocks crack top 10 in Sporting News preseason rankings

First-year starting quarterback Dylan Thompson is one reason South Carolina is expected to be a top-10 team in 2014. (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)

COLUMBIA - South Carolina's football team cracked the top 10 of another national publication's preseason poll Wednesday.

The Gamecocks were ranked No. 10 in the Sporting News' preseason poll. On the wings of three straight 11-win seasons, the program has earned three straight top-10 finishes in the rankings.

Could a fourth straight top-10 team be in Columbia this season?

"Who in their right mind would think South Carolina, a habitually underachieving (team) before Steve Spurrier's arrival, would get bored with 11-win seasons?" the publication wrote of South Carolina. "The Gamecocks could easily make it four in a row this fall, especially if QB Dylan Thompson becomes the one thing Spurrier hasn't had in his time in Columbia: a true thrower of a quarterback."

Thompson has huge shoes to fill. He will replace Connor Shaw, the program's all-time winningest quarterback. Still, Thompson's expected to be a better pocket passer than Shaw, and his 6-foot-3 height offers more prototypical size.

Oklahoma, fresh off a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, was ranked No. 1 in the Sporting News poll. The rest of the top 10 was filled out by Oregon, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, Stanford, Baylor, UCLA and Ohio State.

Earlier this offseason, South Carolina was ranked No. 9 in Athlon's preseason poll.