South Carolina football: Ranking games from easiest to most difficult

South Carolina Gamecocks. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina Gamecocks. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 26, 2020; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks running back Zaquandre White (11) rushes against the Tennessee Volunteers during the third quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina football schedule ranking: No. 6-8

No. 8 – Tennessee Volunteers, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, TN

The Vols are in a similar situation to the Gamecocks heading into the 2021 season. Their roster has seen a mass exodus amid a coaching change, and the program is looking to improve upon a lackluster 2020 performance. Tennessee finished a game ahead of the Gamecocks in the SEC standings last year due to its 31-27 win over South Carolina in the opener.

An extremely tight series over the last decade, the two teams have split the last 10 meetings, with eight of those contests being decided by six points or less. This year expects to be more of the same as the Gamecocks look to end a two-game losing streak.

No. 7 – Kentucky Wildcats, Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC

Kentucky could be one of the SEC’s surprise teams in 2021 as they return talent on defense and in the backfield. They will be replacing Terry Wilson, Jr. at quarterback but Mark Stoops has been able to keep the Wildcats consistent during his tenure. He’s also seen a ton of recent success against the Gamecocks. Kentucky has won six of the last seven meetings in the series, though South Carolina did take the last game played in Columbia.

Last year, the Wildcats were able to run roughshod over a decimated Carolina defense, totaling 291 yards on the ground. The Gamecocks will need to clean that up if they hope to escape this year with a win.

No. 6 – Missouri Tigers, Faurot Field, Columbia, MO

Missouri is placed smack dab in the middle of South Carolina’s most difficult stretch of the season. The last five games of the year include the Tigers, Texas A&M, Florida, Auburn, and Clemson. Making things tougher, the game will take place 900 miles away in COMO.

Mizzou currently holds a two-game win streak over the Gamecocks, including a 17-10 defeat last year. There were positives in that loss for South Carolina, though, as fans got the first glimpse of freshman Luke Doty. In that matchup, he threw for 130 yards and rushed for another 59, leading the team in both categories despite playing just half of the game. Had Doty been the starter, the results might’ve been different. He’ll look for revenge this November.