Mercifully for many, this Saturday is the open week for our South Carolina Gamecocks, who could certainly use a break themselves in this strange, COVID-altered season. It also falls exactly halfway into their 10-game SEC schedule, so it’s a good time to take stock of what’s coming next the rest of the way.
Nov. 7: vs. Texas A&M
Yep, that’s right — the Gamecocks have to come off their bye to face their cross-division “rival” and a team they haven’t beaten since the Aggies joined the conference in 2014. At 3-1, A&M currently sits second in the SEC West behind Alabama, and is also ranked No. 8 in the country (with a date against the suddenly-surging Razorbacks this weekend). The Aggies won a squeaker against Vanderbilt in their season opener and got blasted by the Tide, but have also picked up good wins over Florida and Mississippi State. Kellen Mond, noted Gamecock killer, is also still their quarterback. It’s hard for me to forecast this game as anything but a loss — seeing is believing for me when it comes to this matchup.
Nov. 14: at Ole Miss
Now this will be interesting. Many observers penciled this in as a possible win for the Gamecocks before the season started, only to then watch in astonishment as the Lane Kiffin-led Rebels tattooed then-No. 5 Florida for 35 points in an eventual loss. Ole Miss has been up and down since then, beating Kentucky while getting dragged by Alabama and then dropping close contests to better-than-expected Arkansas and blessed-by-officiating Auburn. The bottom line is that this team lights up the scoreboard, so if the Gamecocks want a victory here, they’re going to need to win a shootout. This is in firm tossup territory, but considering the defense’s struggles to tackle, is probably leaning toward a loss despite the Rebels’ current 1-4 record.
Nov. 21: vs. Missouri
Another game that observers circled as a potential victory prior to the season, 2-2 Mizzou has held its own, notching wins over LSU and Kentucky to go with its losses to Alabama and Tennessee. This likely still remains the Gamecocks’ best chance at a win before the season is out, but the Tigers have shown it won’t be an easy one with an offense that can put up points. This has been a legitimately interesting and close-contested rivalry series since Missouri joined the SEC, so honestly, expect the unexpected here.
Nov. 28: vs. Georgia
South Carolina sprung an entirely shocking upset against the Dawgs in Athens last year, but don’t count on that carrying over into 2020. At 3-1, Georgia has been the clear class of the SEC East despite taking a demoralizing loss to Alabama, and I don’t expect that to change in the intervening weeks before these teams play. Hopefully, South Carolina keeps it competitive, especially with UGA’s seeming lack of a competent quarterback, but it’s just too much to expect back-to-back upsets here against a team that consistently recruits at such a high level.
Dec. 5: at Kentucky
Ah, Kentucky. South Carolina finally got that monkey off its back last year, breaking a five-season losing streak to the Wildcats in emphatic and cathartic fashion, but this will be another tough battle against a seasoned UK squad. The Cats are currently 2-3, with wins against Tennessee and Mississippi State and losses to Auburn, Ole Miss, and Mizzou, so good luck figuring them out this year. This is definitely a team to keep an eye on as the season progresses; opportunities for wins will be scarce as South Carolina enters the back half of its schedule.