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Sophomore WR Bryan Edwards leads the Gamecocks this season with 53 catches for 635 yards and 3 touchdowns.

South Carolina debuts in CFP rankings; plus, Will Muschamp previews Clemson game

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Top 25

The South Carolina Gamecocks made their 2017 debut in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday night, coming in at No. 24.

With the Gamecocks now ranked, the Palmetto Bowl becomes a Top 25 matchup, with Clemson currently No. 3.

Previewing the Tigers

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp met with reporters on Tuesday to preview the Clemson game.

“Looking forward to one of the great rivalries in all of college football,” Muschamp said. “We’re certainly playing and coaching much better than we were a year ago.”

The second-year South Carolina coach emphasized this week that the Gamecocks were “outcoached and outplayed” in their 56-7 loss to the Tigers last season.

It was that loss that sparked South Carolina’s mantra this season: Never again.

“It’s just from the standpoint of competing,” Muschamp said. “At the end of the day, when the chips got down, we had some guys that didn’t compete and it wasn’t our whole team. We had a bunch of guys who competed their butts off.”

‘We remember that’

South Carolina players haven’t forgotten about Clemson coach Dabo Swinney’s in-game salute to his team’s star players in the fourth quarter of the Palmetto Bowl last season.

“It’s kind of a motivation-type deal. We see that score, 56-7,” senior safety D.J. Smith said, “And we’re thinking, ‘Man, we can’t have that again.’ Then, they called two timeouts. … We remember that. It’s in the back of our heads.”

With a chance to win nine games and knock the Tigers out of playoff contention, there’s no shortage of motivation for the Gamecocks.

In high demand

Four-star quarterback and South Carolina commit Dakereon Joyner will play in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in New Orleans next month.

Though he made it to the semifinals of the fan vote for the Under Armour All-America Game, the North Charleston, S.C., native ultimately bowed out of the competition, instead opting for the Offense-Defense game.

“The Offense-Defense All-American game, they made me a priority,” Joyner said. “I wanted my official invite from Under Armour two months ago, when they said they were going to give it to me, and they never gave it to me.”

Joyner has led Fort Dorchester High School to a 13-0 record this season. With a win against Dutch Fork on Friday, Joyner and Fort Dorchester will head to Williams-Brice Stadium for the 5A state championship game on Dec. 2.

‘It starts with you’

The Gamecocks released a hype video asking South Carolina fans to give the team a true home-field advantage on Saturday night against Clemson.

The Gamecocks are looking for their first win against the Tigers since a 31-17 victory in 2013 in Columbia.

Live from Tiger Burn

In the bizarre annual ritual that those outside of Columbia can’t believe is real, South Carolina fans lit the large papier-mache tiger ablaze on Tuesday night as part of the annual Tiger Burn pep rally.

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