Gamecocks at No. 7, Clemson at No. 8 in Coaches Poll - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Gamecocks at No. 7, Clemson at No. 8 in Coaches Poll

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

It's been a long offseason, but the release of the first preseason poll means there's finally light at the end of the lengthy tunnel between January and August.

USA Today released the Preseason Coaches Poll on Thursday, and college football in South Carolina has never been this hyped.

Coming in at No. 7, coach Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks look to continue making waves in the SEC this year.

With star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney anchoring the defense and two bona fide starting quarterbacks in Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson helping boost the offense, the Gamecocks have a chance to make a return trip to Atlanta in the SEC Championship this year.

Meanwhile, the No. 8 Clemson Tigers are still riding high their win over LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Picked to win the ACC outright from powerhouse Florida State, no one would be surprised if coach Dabo Swinney has Jan. 6, 2014 circled on his calendar for a trip to the Rose Bowl and the national championship.

Swinney is counting on a championship-caliber season from senior quarterback Tajh Boyd and a return-to-form from junior wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

As for the remaining top 10, the Alabama Crimson Tide once again finds itself atop the poll with 58 first place votes.

The SEC in general continues to dominate the top 10 with five total representatives. Georgia comes in at No. 5, Texas A&M at No. 6, and Florida at No. 10.

South Carolina and the North Carolina Tar Heels help kickoff the 2013 college football season on Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.

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