83 days until toe meets leather and Gamecocks football takes the field once again at Williams-Brice Stadium.
For what feels like the first time in forever, the scheduling gods have shined on South Carolina, making the schedule at least somewhat manageable in 2021.
With that being said, Carolina will still most likely play three Top 10 teams and four teams ranked in the Top 15 before it’s all said and done.
Let’s take a closer look at the 2021 schedule and how the games stack up in regards to easiest to most difficult this fall.
12. vs. Eastern Illinois, September 4th
This one feels pretty self explanatory. EIU was one of the worst teams in college football a year ago and serves as the perfect opener for new head coach in Shane Beamer.
Factor in that we somehow drew a NIGHT GAME for the week one match-up and it should be a very fun night for the garnet and black against the Panthers.
Anything other than a big win with a lot of points will be a disappointment.
11. vs. Vanderbilt, October 16th
Death, taxes and Gamecocks football beating Vanderbilt like a drum year after year.
It’s crazy that, no matter the state of Carolina football, the boys have always found a way to take down the gold and black from Nashville.
South Carolina will be going for their 13th straight over the Dores this fall as Clark Lea looks to turn his program around, taking over for the recently fired Derek Mason.
Clark Lea was 33-3 during his time as defensive coordinator at Notre Dame! ⚓️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/wBJ81SUUTr— Tailgate Vandy (@TailgateVandy) December 14, 2020
Simply put, Vandy will be BAD in 2021. Not just SEC bad, but one of the worst Power 5 teams in the entire country.
10. vs. Troy, October 2nd
As I’ve said before: do not sleep on the Trojans.
Troy will try to play spoiler in Shane Beamer’s first season when they come to town for the week five match-up.
Chip Lindsey’s squad features a ton of experience and explosiveness on the offensive side of the ball.
No doubt, this is a game South Carolina should win. However, it’s certainly one they shouldn’t take lightly, especially after what happened the last time a Sun Belt foe visited Williams-Brice.
9. at Tennessee, October 9th
I’m sincerely hoping Vol Twitter gets a hold of this article just so we can see their reaction to these rankings.
Yes, I think the Gamecocks road trip to Greenville, NC is a tougher match-up than the week six roadtrip to Knoxville.
No doubt, Neyland Stadium has been a house of horrors for Carolina football and I get uneasy every time South Carolina has to travel there.
But make no mistake, UT is a complete DUMPSTER FIRE right now.
Josh Heupel will have his hands full in year one trying to make something out of a depleted roster and a program facing NCAA sanctions.
8. at East Carolina, September 11th
This serves as one of the most intriguing match-ups on the 2021 schedule and arguably the roadtrip I’m most excited about for the upcoming season.
Good news for the Gamecocks is the game is at noon, which usually bodes well for opponents going into hostile road atmospheres.
Games. Set. 🤙 pic.twitter.com/VspP0ys5UC— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) May 27, 2021
A vertan Pirates team will have this game circled and you know ECU nation will be loud as they look to score a big home upset against a SEC foe.
This game will be pivotal for the outlook of the 2021 season and could swing South Carolina’s bowl hopes one way or the other depending on the final result.
7. at Missouri, November 13th
I don’t know about you all, but I’m starting to develop a serious hatred for the Missouri Tigers.
What’s weird is, they’re that team we all agree is the least “SEC” team of them all.
Located out in the bumf*** Missouri and serving as one of the worst roadtrips of the season, the Gamecocks will look to reclaim the Mayor’s Cup after two straight losses to the Tigers.
Meanwhile, Eli Drinkwitz had a fairly successful year in the fake Columbia in year one and will look to take the Tigers to the next level this season.
While it’s not the biggest game of the 2021 season, the Carolina-Missouri match-up has quietly turned into one of the most intriguing match-ups yearly on the Gamecocks schedule.
6. vs. Auburn, November 20th
There isn’t any bad blood that has fans looking forward to the Tigers visit to Williams-Brice, right?
Expect emotions to be running at an all-time high as former Gamecocks OC Mike Bobo makes his return to Columbia, SC.
All My Homies Hate Mike Bobo T-Shirt
Similar to the Gamecocks, the Tigers will feature a first year head coach as well, as the Bryan Harsin era begins at Auburn.
Both sides will be looking for “revenge” in their own respective ways in a game that should be very chippy early and often.
5. vs. Kentucky, September 25th
As much as I hate to say it, we need to respect the Kentucky football program and what Mark Stoops has built in Lexington.
The week four match-up serves as one of those games that will truly shape the Gamecocks 2021 football season.
“You can get away with a lot of things in Columbia. You can’t get away with losing to Kentucky in football.”— The Spurs Up Show (@TheSpursUpShow) June 8, 2021
Chris (@CPhilly19) on the importance of the #Gamecocks home match-up against UK this fall.https://t.co/b7ws9b8qVF pic.twitter.com/DdlJ5se7yn
As I previously stated on the airwaves, there are many things the South Carolina faithful can stomach when it comes to it’s football program.
Losing to UK is not one of them. The home date will serve as the biggest game to date in year one of the Shane Beamer.
4. vs. Florida, November 6th
While it may arguably serve as the best chance to score a major upset in year one of Shane Beamer, Florida is still Florida.
The Gators will come to Columbia, SC at a very interesting point in the 2021 schedule, as UF takes on UGA the week prior in “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”.
Meanwhile, the Gamecocks will be coming off of a bye week and should be clicking on all cylinders by week ten of the 2021 season.
Could a home date against the Gators serve as the “statement game” of Beamer’s first season?
Possibly. Still, the Gators are loaded with talent and will be a tough adversary come the first weekend in November.
3. at Texas A&M, October 23rd
Anybody else sick and freaking tired of losing to Texas A&M?
Better yet, is it too late to switch our annual SEC West foe? How we went from playing Arkansas every year to the Aggies is an all-time South Carolina move.
Either way, the Gamecocks enter the 2021 match-up on a seven game losing streak to A&M, having lost every game in the series history.
Jimbo Fisher’s squad has their sights set on challenging Alabama for the SEC West title and should feature their best squad to date in his tenure.
Simply put, until Carolina finds a way to have any sliver of success in this series, the outlook for the Gamecocks in College Station is bleak at best.
2. vs. Clemson, November 27th
The best rivalry in all of college football returns this fall as the Gamecocks welcome that team from the Upstate to Williams-Brice Stadium once again.
A new era begins for Dabo Swinney’s team as Trevor Lawrence is headed to the NFL, opening the door for D.J. Uiageleilei to take the reigns for the Tigers.
Will Shane Beamer be the man to turn the rivalry back in South Carolina’s favor?
Possibly. However, Clemson is still unfortunately among college football’s elite and it would take a nearly perfect effort to take down the Tigers in Columbia this season.
1. at Georgia, September 18th
If not this for the Dawgs, when?
Even before the additions of transfers Derion Kendrick and Arik Gilbert, UGA looked to be LOADED and primed to make a run to the school’s first National Championship since 1980.
Kirby Smart might finally have his QB in former five star recruit and Southern Cal transfer J.T. Daniels and the Dawgs might feature the most talented roster in college football.
Yes, South Carolina has had success against Georgia before and these games always seem to be tough, competitive ballgames.
But a night game between the hedges against a UGA team that I’m sure hasn’t forgotten what happened the last time South Carolina visited Sanford Stadium?
Yikes. It could be a long night for Shane Beamer in his SEC opener as Gamecocks head coach.