South Carolina football: 3 most important games on the Gamecocks’ schedule

Shi Smith #13 of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)
Shi Smith #13 of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images) /
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Bo Nix #10 of the Auburn Tigers. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

South Carolina football takes on Auburn for the first time in six years.

3. Auburn

We’ve seen the first and last games on the schedule, but there are many matchups in between that could have a huge impact on the success of South Carolina’s season. You’ve got a home meeting with Texas A&M, a team the Gamecocks have yet to beat since the Aggies entered the SEC in 2014. There’s the rivalry meeting with Georgia on Thanksgiving weekend. There are swing games versus Ole Miss and Missouri.

The most noteworthy, though, is a matchup with Auburn in the fourth game of the year. Why is this one more important than the others? There are a few reasons.

First, if things go well for the Gamecocks over the first three weeks, South Carolina could be 2-1 heading into this contest. Getting to three wins in the first four games would almost guarantee a winning record for the Gamecocks, as the slate eases up a bit in the second half of the year.

A win over the Tigers would also give the Gamecocks a huge boost as they enter a stretch of what could be three straight matchups against top 10 teams (LSU and A&M follow). We saw this last season following the upset of Georgia. South Carolina entered another top 10 matchup against Florida and had the Gators on the ropes, though they weren’t able to pull out the victory in the end.

Finally, this seems to be the most winnable of the potential upsets on the Carolina slate. Texas A&M may be a bit too much to handle with all the experience returning in 2020. It will be tough to take down defending champion LSU in Death Valley, even without the Heisman Trophy winner. Georgia will be out for revenge following the loss last year, and beating Florida in the Swamp is always a tall task.

Auburn, though, presents a foe with a young quarterback, some inexperience at wideout, and a defense that’s lost some playmakers, particularly on the back end. If the Gamecocks’ new look offense can take advantage of the Tiger secondary, it could mean an upset is in the making for that mid-October meeting.

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