South Carolina will be shooting for its sixth straight victory of the 2001 season and its seventh straight win dating back to last season. For the first time since 1988, a South Carolina team has opened the year 5-0. The last time a Gamecock team won its first six games of the campaign was in 1988, when Carolina opened the season 6-0 before losing at Georgia Tech. The school record for most consecutive victories is nine, set by the 1984 club that ran off nine straight wins and was ranked as high as #2 in the nation before losing at Navy.
One has to go back 13 years to the 1988 season to note the last time USC was nationally ranked in the preseason and the first six weeks of the season. That year, Carolina began the year ranked 19th in the preseason and moved up to as high as 8th in the country. The Gamecocks were ranked for 11 straight weeks that season, before falling out of the polls the second week of November. USC's current ranking of #9 in the AP poll is the school's highest ranking in that wire service poll since Oct. 11, 1988 when USC was ranked 8th in the nation. The Gamecocks were also ranked as high as 8th by AP in 1987. The 1984 club was ranked as high as 2nd nationally.
USC was nationally ranked eight times during the 2000 season, the highest ranking coming at #17 the week of Oct. 22. Carolina was ranked 19th in the season-ending AP poll.
South Carolina is 4-0 in the SEC for the first time in the school's history. A year ago, the Gamecocks posted their best SEC record to date, going 5-3 in league play. USC is currently atop the SEC Eastern Division standings and at 4-0, has recorded more league victories than any other school. Florida (3-0) is also undefeated in the SEC East, while Auburn (3-0) is undefeated in the SEC West.
South Carolina and Arkansas meet for the 10th time ever. The Razorbacks lead the series, which dates back to 1992, 5-4. In the state of Arkansas, UA leads 3-1. In Little Rock, the two teams have split a pair of games, with USC winning 39-13 in 1997 and the Razorbacks winning 48-14 in 1999.
USC is the only SEC opponent to play Arkansas in Little Rock this season. The Hogs opened the 2001 campaign at home in Little Rock against UNLV, with the Runnin' Rebels being the only non-conference foe to take on the Razorbacks in Little Rock.