If this ranking is a surprise (pops) to anyone then you aren't alone. If you have been paying attention to the other pre-season rankings the Gamecocks have been consistently in the top ten (such as our #8 ranking on ESPN) so Steele must think he sees something no one else does (his predicted AP top 25 has us at #10 too, pops). Generally I don't think much of pre-season rankings other than it is important fact that the ranking can potentially help you in the long run with the BCS (though this is less important for the SEC teams these days).
While Phil Steele likes to give a little history behind each position area he may have overdone it for us. He spent too much time on Garcia and some of the information in the RB area is wrong (Eric Baker is transferring and Shon Carson and Mike Davis are here to add to the depth). His final comment does save that area as he states it will be one of the premier units in the country.
Usually I do like to read Steele's reviews of teams because in the past he seems to pay attention to details that others ignore but in this case I think he is way off. He obviously believes that our WR core is completely lacking (check out his All-SEC teams here, pops) and it is true we lack a major playmaker but Sanders should probably be in his 4th team. One other major oversight in his review is the fact that he completely ignores the TEs. I believe that the TEs are going to be a strength on this team especially if our relatively young OL struggles early on in the year.
Few more comments after the jump.
Another reason we may have got knocked in the 20's is because he may believe that Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, and LSU will be beating us. Looking at his rankings he will most likely be ranking Florida above us so their progress on offense may have caused him to add a probable loss and therefore drop us in the rankings. He may be right because all 4 of those teams (some more than others) could beat us and if we get hit by the injury bug in some areas such as the secondary or WR core it would become fair more likely.
In conclusion he states that:
They do have a -3.0 in my Stock Market Indicator (pg 27) and draw both LSU and Ark out of the West. This is a quality SC (team) with QB Shaw and RB Lattimore and one of the best def front 7's in the country but they won't match (last year)'s 11 win total.
While knowing the details of his Stock Market Indicator is unknown unless you look at the magazine (comes out in a couple weeks) I believe that he misses on the review because he ignores some of the key strengths of the team. While it is intangible (so won't be covered by Steele) I believe the biggest of them all is that the upperclassman leadership is driving this team and is dedicated (pops) to getting better and no matter what happens the team will continue with the motto: "Win Anyway."