The Gamecocks (4-0), in coach Lou Holtz's second season at Columbia, were ranked No. 23 in Sunday's balloting by the 71 sports writers and broadcasters on the AP panel. They beat Mississippi State 23-19 on Saturday and are off to their best start since 1988.
South Carolina was 0-11 in '99 and opened this season by snapping a 21-game losing streak.
Clemson (4-0), in coach Tommy Bowden's second season, moved up four places to No. 7 after a 31-10 victory over Virginia.
Both UCLA, a 29-10 loser at Oregon, and Wisconsin, which lost 47-44 in two overtimes to Northwestern, fell out of the top 10. The Bruins (3-1) tumbled from No. 6 to No. 15; the Badgers from No. 7 to No. 17. Oregon (3-1) moved into the poll for the first time this season at No 20.
The Cornhuskers (3-0), 42-13 winners over Iowa, received 39 first-place votes and 1,743 points, while the Seminoles (4-0), 31-0 winners over Louisville, had 30 first-place votes and 1,732 points. Last week, the Hukers led the Seminoles by 24 points; this week the lead is 11.
Florida (4-0) was No. 3 with one first-place vote and 1,603 points after its 59-31 win over Kentucky, with idle Virginia Tech (3-0) moving up a spot to No. 4 and Kansas State (4-0) dropping a notch to No. 5 after a 55-10 win over North Texas. The Wildcats received the other first-place vote.
Tennessee, which beat Louisiana-Monroe 70-3, improved two places to No. 11, followed by No. 12 Ohio State, No. 13 Texas, No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 15 UCLA, No. 16 TCU, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 18 Michigan State, No. 19 Auburn and No. 20 Oregon.
In the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, the top five are: Nebraska, Florida State, Florida, Virginia Tech and Kansas State.
©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed