Gamecocks poll rankings highest finish in history

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The University of South Carolina Gamecocks have finished the season as the highest ranked squad in school history.

USC (11-2) finished at No. 8 in the final AP poll. That's one spot better than the Gamecocks final ranking in 2011.

The Gamecocks finished seventh in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, also one spot higher than in 2011.

USC moved up three spots in both polls after beating No. 24 Michigan 33-28 in the Outback Bowl.

"I'm very proud of our team and what we accomplished this season," said head coach Steve Spurrier. "We are obviously thrilled to be ranked one spot better than we were last year and the highest in school history."

"Much of the credit goes to our seniors, especially the leadership provided by our captains - D.J. Swearinger, T.J. Johnson, Justice Cunningham and Shaq Wilson - which was instrumental in our success. We lose a lot of outstanding players but have a good nucleus returning for next season," continued Spurrier. "Our goals will be just as high. Our No. 1 goal is to win the SEC Championship and we'll try to accomplish that next season."

In addition, the Gamecocks have been ranked among the nation's top-25 for 47 consecutive polls, the most in school history and tied for the fifth-longest current streak in the nation.

After stomping Notre Dame 42-14 in Monday night's championship game, Alabama finished at No. 1 in both polls.

The Crimson Tide (13-1) was voted national champion by The Associated Press for the ninth time, more than any other program in college football.

Notre Dame, No. 1 coming into the BCS championship, dropped to No. 4.

The Tide entered the title game with as many AP titles as the Fighting Irish, and emphatically broke the tie for first. It's Alabama's second straight title and third in four years. The only other team to win three AP titles in four seasons was Notre Dame from 1946-49.

The Tide received all 59 of the first-place votes in the final media poll of the season, and will be a candidate to start next season No. 1. This season Alabama started second, was ranked No. 1 for 10 weeks before losing to Texas A&M in November and falling to fourth. The Tide quickly moved back to No. 2 and for the second straight season beat No. 1 in the BCS title game to finish on top.

Oregon (12-1) finished second, matching its best final ranking from 2001. Ohio State (12-0), the only undefeated team in major college football but banned from the postseason because of NCAA sanctions, was third. Georgia and Texas A&M tied for fifth to cap another banner season for the Southeastern Conference.

Alabama is the seventh straight SEC team to finish No. 1 and the toughest conference in college football also became the first league to have five of top 10 teams in the final rankings.

Florida was ninth.

Texas A&M, in its first season in the SEC, finished with its best final AP rankings since 1956.

The SEC also matched a record with seven teams in the final Top 25. LSU was 14th and Vanderbilt was 23rd. The SEC and Big Ten both finished with seven teams in the final rankings of the 1999 season.

Stanford was seventh and Florida State was 10th.

The Seminoles' ACC rival, Clemson, was 11th, followed by Kansas State and Louisville.

After LSU, was Oklahoma at No. 15. Utah State is the highest ranked team from a conference without a BCS automatic qualifying bid. The Aggies won the Western Athletic Conference in its last season as a football league.

Northwestern was 17th, Boise State was No. 18, Texas was 19th and Oregon State 20th.

The final five were San Jose State, another WAC team, Northern Illinois from the Mid-American Conference, Vandy, Michigan and Nebraska.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.