COVID-19 has completely screwed everything up for every team in the FBS, but I would say that South Carolina definitely got the short end of the stick this year.
Muschamp is in a potential make or break year, but now that will be delayed due to the pandemic. The good news is, he has a chance to prove himself against a tougher schedule this year.
The SEC released the full schedule Monday night and South Carolina has a really tough stretch.
The Gamecocks open the season with a home game against Tennessee. Although the Vols beat South Carolina last year, Muschamp still is better against Tennessee than most SEC teams.
Jarrett Guarantano is entering his senior year, but the Vols will suffer from the loss of Jauan Jennings.
The media may view Tennessee as a Top 25 team this year, but South Carolina is usually (emphasis on usually) strong in their season openers.
Things don’t get easier for the Gamecocks, as they have to travel to Gainesville in week two to play Florida.
The only positive of this matchup is that The Swamp probably won’t have any fans due to COVID-19. I expect South Carolina to play with a chip on their shoulder, especially with how poorly the game last year went.
A win over Tennessee would do wonders for their confidence in a huge road game against a Top 10 opponent.
South Carolina gets a slight break when they travel to Nashville to play Vanderbilt in week three.
I think South Carolina will win this one no matter what. I mean no disrespect to Derek Mason’s program, but they lost Ke’Shawn Vaughn and South Carolina will have only improved.
South Carolina will then return home to play a tough cross divisional matchup against Auburn.
If fans are allowed at Williams-Brice this year, that could make a huge difference in this game. The big story here is how sophomore Bo Nix will match up against South Carolina’s impressive secondary.
How will guys like Israel Mukuamu and Jaycee Horn defend speedy guys like Seth Williams and Anthony Schwartz? Home field advantage will contribute a lot to this game.
South Carolina finishes out a gauntlet of a pre-bye week schedule with a road trip against LSU.
The defending national champions may have lost guys like Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Justin Jefferson, but they reloaded on offense and still kept stars like Ja’Marr Chase.
I think this is South Carolina’s toughest game of 2020 and fatigue could unfortunately be a factor in this one.
If South Carolina had any chance to beat Texas A&M, this would be the best year.
The Aggies are revered as one of the best teams in the SEC, but they have yet to prove that in recent years. South Carolina will play them at home after a bye week, and I think South Carolina has a legitimate chance to win.
Kellen Mond will provide a challenge along with Isaiah Spiller, but I hope Muschamp will be prepared for this one. This game is honestly a toss up.
South Carolina will then travel to Oxford to play Ole Miss.
The Rebels have struggled to say the least in recent years, so I think South Carolina should win, especially if there are no fans in the stands for this game.
The biggest threat for the Gamecocks is John Rhys Plumlee, who is a dual threat quarterback. One area of concern for South Carolina’s defense is the linebackers, and dual threat quarterbacks will create a challenge. Offensively, I think South Carolina will be fine in this game.
South Carolina will then play Missouri at Williams-Brice.
Missouri is the only other team besides Vanderbilt that South Carolina is favored in. Their biggest threat will be senior running back Larry Rountree.
I think if South Carolina’s defensive line shuts him down, this will be an easy win for the Gamecocks. This is barring any major injuries during the season of course.
The Gamecocks then host the Georgia Bulldogs.
Can South Carolina do the unthinkable and shock UGA yet again? The Dawgs will have revenge on their mind and get a break not having to play in front of a packed Williams-Brice Stadium.
South Carolina finishes the regular season with a road game against Kentucky.
Kentucky is seen as a potential top-25 team for this year, but I just don’t see it. They lost so much offensive production with the loss of Lynn Bowden Jr. that I don’t see them being a top 4 SEC East team.
I don’t think quarterback Sawyer Smith can beat South Carolina’s defense. With all due respect to Kentucky, South Carolina should win this one somewhat easily.
There are so many wild cards for this season, and the COVID-19 pandemic could interrupt it at any point.
These predictions are extremely early, and South Carolina always has an unpredictable season. I know every South Carolina fan wants Muschamp to succeed, and he has a real chance to cool his seat this season.
Everyone is ready for college football to be back this season and if Muschamp can figure out this offense, the Gamecocks could become a contender again.
I just don’t expect this to be a defining season for Muschamp no matter what South Carolina’s record is.