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2015 Gamecock Baseball Preview: Preseason Rankings and Honors

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The first entry in this week's series previewing the 2015 Gamecock baseball team takes a look at what others think of South Carolina coming into the season

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Gamecock baseball returns this week and we'll be previewing the team in the days leading up to the season opener against College of Charleston. We'll start with the expectations for the Gamecocks as they enter the season. The table below contains the preseason rankings from several of college baseball's polls. (South Carolina opponents are italicized)

D1Baseball Baseball America USA Today Coaches Poll Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball
1 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
2 Florida LSU Virginia Virginia TCU
3 Virginia Houston TCU TCU Virginia
4 UCLA Virginia LSU Florida LSU
5 South Carolina Texas Tech Florida UCLA Oklahoma State
6 North Carolina Florida Texas Texas Florida
7 Houston TCU Louisville LSU Texas
8 TCU Oklahoma State Oklahoma State Houston Houston
9 LSU Miami UCLA Louisville Texas Tech
10 Texas Texas South Carolina Miami UCLA
11 Louisville UCLA Houston Florida State Florida State
12 Oklahoma State Louisville Florida State Texas Tech Louisville
13 Rice South Carolina Texas Tech Oklahoma State Cal Poly
14 Maryland Mississippi State Miami South Carolina Miami
15 Miami Rice North Carolina Oregon Oregon
16 Texas Tech Maryland Oregon Arkansas UC Santa Barbara
17 Texas A&M North Carolina Rice North Carolina Cal State Fullerton
18 Ole Miss Arizona State Ole Miss UC Santa Barbara Stanford
19 Cal State Fullerton Kennesaw State Cal State Fullerton Cal State Fullerton Arizona State
20 Alabama Oregon Maryland Arizona State Mississippi State
21 Florida State Florida State Arizona State Rice South Carolina
22 Oregon Central Florida Stanford Stanford Rice
23 Nebraska Cal State Fullerton Texas A&M Mississippi State Liberty
24 Arizona State Clemson Cal Poly Kennesaw State North Carolina
25 Tennessee Liberty Mississippi State Texas A&M College of Charleston

There's a pretty wide range of preseason expectations for the Gamecocks within the top 25, although all but one poll does have them as a top 15 team. Preseason rankings, by necessity, involve lots of guesswork and are therefore susceptible to being very wrong. However they do give a good indication of a team's perceived ability to answer the questions that they face entering the season.

The three polls that have the Gamecocks in the 10-15 range are probably about right as far as appropriate expectations for this team, at least until we learn more by seeing them in action. South Carolina has some good returning experience and should have the talent to fill the open positions left by last year's departures. The biggest question is whether this team will coalesce and play to the potential that they appear to have.

Despite the expectation that the Gamecocks will be very solid as a team, only one player received preseason All-American honors. Freshman utility player Alex Destino was selected as a third-team All-American by Baseball America.  Destino is a left-handed pitcher and a powerful hitter and should contribute in both roles this season.