South Carolina football: NCAA allows for FBS schools to start season a week early

Quarterback Ryan Hilinski #3 of the South Carolina Gamecocks leads his team out on to the field. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Quarterback Ryan Hilinski #3 of the South Carolina Gamecocks leads his team out on to the field. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

The South Carolina football team is scheduled to begin its season on September 5th, but a recent NCAA decision may allow for some flexibility.

South Carolina is scheduled to take on Coastal Carolina on September 5th to start its 2020 college football season. But a recent decision from the NCAA may allow for the game to be moved up.

Today, the NCAA announced that it will allow all FBS teams to play their season openers on August 29, which was originally scheduled to be week 0 in the 2020 season. The news was originally broken by Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports. Prior to the announcement, there were only a select group of matchups that were allowed to be played on that opening Saturday.

Games originally scheduled for August 29 were Cal v. UNLV, Hawaii v. Arizona, Idaho State v. New Mexico, Marshall v. East Carolina, New Mexico State v. UCLA, UC Davis v. Nevada. The three games involving PAC 12 affiliates have since been cancelled as the conference announced it will play a league-only schedule in 2020.

Over the weekend, Big XII teams Oklahoma and Kansas requested that their openers be rescheduled to week 0, and the NCAA complied. That compliance is what led the NCAA to eventually allow the blanket waiver to cover all FBS teams.

The thought behind allowing for an earlier start is to provide flexibility in rescheduling, should the season be affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, and to attempt to play as many games as possible. It would allow for teams to essentially have two bye weeks over their first five games. Should the virus affect teams early in the year, players and coaches will have an extra week in between contests to quarantine and self-isolate. Should things go smoothly in August, teams could choose to fill those bye weeks with later scheduled matchups to ensure they’ll play as many contests as possible.

It’s not likely that we’ll hear any decision from South Carolina regarding this new waiver, at least not until the SEC makes its final announcement on the upcoming season, but at least the Gamecocks will have the option to make the move if needed. It’s also worth noting that the ACC, Big XII, and SEC have been in talks regarding the 2020 schedule, as they look to find a way to play cross-over games between conferences.

For now, the South Carolina opener is still scheduled for September 5th, but I’m sure a lot of anxious fans wouldn’t mind getting started a week early.