Coming off the program’s third consecutive 11-win season, SEC East favorite South Carolina is ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25, the SEC’s third-highest ranked program behind Alabama (No. 2) and Auburn (6).

The Gamecocks finished the 2013 season ranked fourth in the final AP Poll, their highest mark in school history, but take the field Aug. 28 against Texas A&M without several familiar faces including the school’s all-time winningest quarterback Connor Shaw, No. 1 draft pick Jadeveon Clowney and the team’s leading receiver, Bruce Ellington.

Eight teams from the SEC are ranked in this year’s preseason poll.

ASSOCIATED PRESS PRESEASON TOP 25 POLL

1FLORIDA STATE14-057NR
2ALABAMA11-21NR
3OKLAHOMA11-21NR
4OREGON11-21NR
5OHIO STATE
12-20NR
6AUBURN12-20NR
7UCLA10-30NR
8MICHIGAN STATE13-10NR
9SOUTH CAROLINA11-20NR
10BAYLOR11-20NR
11STANFORD11-30NR
12GEORGIA8-50NR
13LSU10-30NR
14WISCONSIN9-40NR
15USC10-40NR
16CLEMSON11-20NR
17NOTRE DAME9-40NR
18OLE MISS8-50NR
19ARIZONA STATE10-40NR
20KANSAS STATE8-50NR
21TEXAS A&M9-40NR
22NEBRASKA9-40NR
23NORTH CAROLINA7-60NR
24MIZZOU12-20NR
25WASHINGTON9-40NR