BCS Rankings 2011: The South Carolina Gamecocks Season Begins Now

Kevin WhiteContributor IOctober 16, 2011

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 08:  Alshon Jeffery #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates runs with the ball during their game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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...

BCS Standings
1. Alabama
2. Oklahoma
3. LSU
4. Oklahoma State
5. Boise State
6. Wisconsin
7. Stanford
8. Clemson
9. Arkansas
10. Oregon
11. Kansas State
12. South Carolina
13. Nebraska
14. Virginia Tech
15. West Virginia
16. Michigan State
17. Michigan
18. Houston
19. Texas A&M
20. Penn State
21. Auburn
22. Georgia Tech
23. Illinois
24. Texas

25. Washington

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.