The preseason college football polls are taken with a grain of salt. They are more of a popularity contest because it takes a few games to see which teams will pass "the eyeball test."
Once conference play begins, the cream begins to rise to the top. That is one of the reasons for the BCS rankings not being calculated until after everyone has played at least six games.
Tonight at 8 pm, the first BCS computer rankings were released to look like this...
|4. Oklahoma State|
|5. Boise State|
|11. Kansas State|
|12. South Carolina|
|14. Virginia Tech|
|15. West Virginia|
|16. Michigan State|
|19. Texas A&M|
|20. Penn State|
|22. Georgia Tech|
The South Carolina Gamecocks should actually be pretty pleased with a No. 12 BCS ranking, which agrees with the Coaches Poll. The Associated Press Poll has them ranked two spots lower at No. 14.
Despite being four points short of a flawless record, this 6-1 team has recorded only one complete game against lowly Kentucky 54-3. The mix of an inconsistent offense, loss of star RB Marcus Lattimore to knee injury, and the tendency to play down to the opposition has viewers unsure if this team has room to grow, or if this will be the high point of their season.
The dominance of the Gamecocks defense (ranked ninth nationally in yardage allowed) keeps fans hopeful that the preseason goal of repeating as SEC East champions is still realistic.
The second half of the 2011 schedule leaves several opportunities for the Gamecocks to improve their BCS station, including facing No. 9 Arkansas and No. 8 Clemson. A repeat appearance in the SEC Championship Game would possibly mean facing No. 1 LSU or No. 2 Alabama.
If South Carolina can safely navigate the mine field called the SEC, this season still has the potential to be special.