Gamecocks, Tigers crack top 10 in "Way-Too-Early" top 25 list - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gamecocks, Tigers crack top 10 in "Way-Too-Early" top 25 list

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The first play of the 2013 NCAA football season is another 7 months away, but that doesn't stop Sports Illustrated from putting out their Way-Too-Early Top 25 list for the upcoming season.

Luckily, the state of South Carolina is well-represented on the 2013 hype train. The list, compiled by writer Andy Staples, has both the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Clemson Tigers cracking the top 10.

The Gamecocks come first with a No. 8 ranking on Staples' list. Staples mentions standout defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in the first three sentences of his write through, saying there will be a "trail of NFL scouts lined up to watch" Clowney. 

Staples also calls quarterbacks Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson "capable" and the offensive line "experienced". However, he says the o-line "must get better this offseason to keep Shaw and Thompson healthy enough to last through the SEC schedule." 

South Carolina opens the season against the North Carolina Tarheels on Aug. 31.

The Tigers are a bit further down the list at No. 10 with Staples calling Clemson the favorite of the ACC because of the return of senior quarterback Tajh Boyd. 

While Nuke Hopkins and Andre Ellington will be gone from the team this season, Staples says he expects junior wide receiver Sammy Watkins to "reclaim the magic" from his freshman season.

Clemson will get a fast start to the season this year with the Georgia Bulldogs coming to town on opening day Aug. 31. Staples says that's also a reason the Tigers might be a bit too highly rated on his list.

"It's Clemson with a preseason top-10 ranking," said Staples. "What could possibly go wrong?"

As for the top two teams in the nation, it should be no surprise that Alabama comes in at No. 1, but perhaps the more surprising choice at No. 2 is Texas A&M.

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