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UPDATE: South Carolina Gamecocks extend football series with ECU through 2021; will play UMass, Western Carolina in 2016

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Carolina re-ups with a familiar face through the next decade and fills an open date.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There have been questions as to who the South Carolina Gamecocks would schedule to fill their open dates in the future. We received part of that that answer today, as the Gamecocks will extend their series with the East Carolina Pirates until 2021.

The most recent game between Carolina and the AAC team was last year, a 33-23 win. The two sides have faced each other a total of eighteen times, with the Gamecocks holding a 13-5 edge.

According to FBSchedules.com, the Gamecocks will host the Pirates at Williams-Brice Stadium in 2016 (likely September 16 of that year) and 2020, and will travel to ECU in 2019 and 2021. While there has not been an official announcement by either school (we'll post a link once we receive it), FBSchedules has been very accurate on things like this in the past, and with the 2015 season being a week out, we'd expect a confirmation in short order.

ECU is a somewhat familiar opponent, and the relationship the two sides have built will continue for the foreseeable future. That's despite a few of these games being a little too close for comfort for the Gamecocks' liking. It will be interesting to see, too, if there is a push to get one of the games in the later years pushed to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, where the two teams squared off several years ago.

Update: Now more scheduling news: The State reports that the Gamecocks will play UMass and Western Carolina next season. Carolina usually plays an in-state FCS team, but the Western Carolina game will replace that (Coastal Carolina was believed to be that FCS opponent). UMass, a member of the Mid-American Conference that will play as an independent after the 2015 season, began FBS play in 2012 after a number of years as an FCS program. With the UMass announcement, the Gamecocks have now filled their 2016 non-conference schedule.