South Carolina softball will start the 2020 season at No. 19 in the initial USA Today/NFCA Poll and No. 21 in the opening ESPN/USA Softball rankings, it was announced Tuesday. This marks the first time since 2004 the Gamecocks started seasons ranked in back-to-back years.
The Gamecocks have been ranked in every poll since Feb. 20, 2018, a streak of 113 games that is set to continue Feb. 7 when the Gamecocks open the year with a doubleheader against North Dakota State and Southern Illinois that is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.
According to the Coaches Poll, South Carolina is set to face 11 ranked foes (No. 1 Washington, No. 2 Alabama, No. 7 Florida, No. 11 LSU, No. 12 Tennessee, No. 13 Oklahoma State, No. 16 Georgia, No. 17 Michigan, No. 18 Texas Tech, No. 20 James Madison, No. 23 Auburn) and an additional three teams that received votes in the initial poll (Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Ohio State).
According to the USA Softball rankings, the Gamecocks are set to face 10 ranked foes (No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Washington, No. 9 Florida, T-11 Tennessee, T-11 LSU, No. 13 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Michigan, No. 17 Georgia, No. 18 James Madison, No. 19 Texas Tech) and an additional five teams that received votes in the initial poll (Auburn, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Mississippi State, Ohio State).
Other preseason poll positions for South Carolina include: No. 22 (Softball America), No. 21 (FloSoftball) and No. 20 (D1 Softball).
- Tenth time since 1995 South Carolina has opened the season ranked in the polls
- First time since 2004 the Gamecocks have opened seasons ranked in back-to-back years
- Best ranking of the 2019 season was No. 9 while the highest during the 2018 season was No. 8
- Last year, 2019, was the first time since 2004 the Gamecocks started a year ranked since 2004