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South Carolina football to play exclusively conference games in 2020

At last, a decision has arrived.

Photo by Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The SEC finally pulled the trigger on how it intends to handle college football in the coronavirus-altered world of 2020, landing on a 10-game, conference-only model.

The SEC also shifted the start of its season to Sept. 26, pushing the Gamecocks back three weeks from their original opening date on Sept. 5.

South Carolina will lose Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, and Wofford as non-conference opponents — and those programs will, in turn, lose the payday they’d have otherwise received from the Gamecocks. Oh, and uh, I guess that means Clemson’s off the menu, too.

As the SEC currently plays an 8-game conference schedule, two more games will need to be decided upon for each team. There’s no word yet on how that will shake out, but some pundits are expecting the next teams up on the cross-division rotations to be added, as that’s likely the simplest route. For South Carolina, that would mean Arkansas (cheers!) and Auburn (jeers!).

This call oddly flies in the face of decision-makers at both South Carolina and Clemson, not to mention is a direct contradiction of the ACC’s model, which was announced late yesterday afternoon. The ACC elected to go with a “plus-one” schedule proposal, which is 10 conference games with the addition of a non-conference contest — likely with the intent to protect the various out-of-conference rivalries multiple ACC programs have. When word of this came down the pike, the assumption was that the Palmetto Bowl was safe, but the SEC has (apparently) decided to move in another direction despite collaborating with the ACC throughout this process. College football gonna college football.