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South Carolina's record against top 25 finishers best since 2011

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Two other SEC teams—the ones you're probably guessing—are next in line.

Steve Spurrier was well aware of this fact, but he'll say "he thinks" it to be the case and will ask you to look it up.
Steve Spurrier was well aware of this fact, but he'll say "he thinks" it to be the case and will ask you to look it up.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's Chris Low has recently joined Twitter, perhaps intrigued by a colleague's description of the medium as "writing sentences as standalone paragraphs all the time!" But seriously, Chris does serviceable work and he's from South Carolina (even though he went to Tennessee) so he tends to give a fair share of attention to the Gamecocks. Most importantly, he's not co-blogger Edward Aschoff, whose writing style falls somewhere between tweener Xanga post and Wild And Crazy Kids transcript. Of course Aschoff's paid to enjoy unlimited access to SEC football and I'm writing this while my boss isn't looking. Enjoy the last laugh, Ed.

Anyhoo, Low tweeted an interesting (if not completely accurate) statistic:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>S. Carolina 12-3, LSU 9-4, Bama 8-5 vs. teams that finished the season ranked in top 25 over the last three seasons. Nobody else over .500.</p>&mdash; Chris Low (@ClowESPN) <a href="https://twitter.com/ClowESPN/statuses/491255410939424768">July 21, 2014</a></blockquote>
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RTR nation was quick to remind Low that the Crimson Tide has only lost 4 times in the past three seasons and thus cannot have gone 9-5 against top 25 finishers. Low hasn't issued a correction, but they're not wrong. But, hey, HOW BOUT THEM COCKS?

Wins v. Top 25 Finishers, 2011-2013
Losses v. Top 25 Finishers, 2011-2013
2011 Clemson, Nebraska, Georgia Arkansas
2012 Clemson, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Michigan LSU, Florida
2013 Clemson, Missouri, UCF, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt None

Note that even if for some arbitrary reason we remove Clemson from the equation, the Cocks still boast the best record against top teams. But of course we won't be doing that and in fact I'll just gaze at those three data points for a few seconds and grin. But as lovely as that first column is, a damning story is told by the teams that aren't depicted in the loss column—Auburn, Tennessee, and Georgia*. A few bad Saturdays against some middling opposition have prevented South Carolina's return to Atlanta despite its peerless record against top opposition. But the positives are plentiful, and it's nice to know that "Y'ALL AIN'T PLAY ANYBODY" arguments won't diffuse our fond memories of these squads.

By the way, raise your hand if you remembered Vanderbilt finished '12 and '13 ranked.

*Of course, 2013 Georgia wasn't so much middling as they were injury-depleted. You'll recall they finished 2013 unranked, falling out of the final poll following their Gator Bowl loss to Nebraska.