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South Carolina releases 2020 football schedule

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Not nearly as brutal as 2019, but November could be tough.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 season has yet to start, but the South Carolina Gamecocks have unveiled their 2020 football slate on Wednesday and it’s never too early to start speculating about the future.

The Gamecocks open the season with a pair of home games against non-Power 5 opponents Coastal Carolina and East Carolina, the latter of which has been almost a fixture as a non-conference opponent for USC (and admittedly not as much of a cupcake as we’d all prefer).

The Gamecocks then open SEC play with a home date against Missouri before back-to-back road contests against Kentucky and Florida, with the date against the Gators curiously early in the season. South Carolina then returns home to face Tennessee before receiving its bye week, after which it hosts Texas A&M.

The Gamecocks close out October with a trip to Vanderbilt before embarking on their toughest stretch of 2020: November contests against Georgia, at LSU, against Wofford, and at Clemson.

A few of my quick observations:

  • It’s really, really weird to see Florida so early in the season and Georgia so late. The Gamecocks had a late date against Georgia in 2012, but it’s traditionally been a contest played around Weeks 2-3 — and South Carolina fans have liked it that way, for reasons Steve Spurrier pointed out. As for Florida, South Carolina has literally never played the Gators so early, with the 1936 season’s Oct. 10 date being the earliest contest in the series.
  • I know the 2015 flooding in Columbia prevented the Gamecocks from hosting LSU, but man, it feels like we’ll never play the Bayou Bengals in Williams-Brice again. Three straight games at Death Valley is just a tough break.
  • I like the timing of the bye week, especially since it falls before facing a team the Gamecocks have struggled against.
  • Can’t say I’m thrilled to see Wofford back on the schedule. The triple-option Terriers are, quite frankly, a giant pain in the ass, as well as an injury risk. Not exactly what you’d like to be up against the week before traveling to your biggest rival.

At first blush — and especially compared to 2019 — this schedule seems very manageable outside of that November stretch. What do y’all think?