The South Carolina Gamecocks faced one of the toughest three-game stretches of any team in the country this season. They hosted No. 5 Georgia, traveled to No. 9 LSU and then went on the road again to face No. 2 Florida in Gainesville. It was a brutal schedule but it, won’t be as tough next season for the Gamecocks.
Earlier today, the 2013 SEC football schedule was released and looking at South Carolina’s schedule, it seems like a cakewalk compared to this season’s slate of games. There’s no Alabama, there’s no LSU and there isn’t a daunting three-game stretch like there was this season.
Here’s the first look at the Gamecock’s SEC schedule for 2013:
South Carolina begins their SEC conference games against Georgia and that always seems to be one of their biggest games due to the SEC East title implications. Both teams figure to be national title contenders once again next season and it’s a crucial game to win to start their season off on the right foot.
After the Georgia game, they have a relatively easy stretch of games as they host Vanderbilt and Kentucky and then travel to a downtrodden Arkansas team. The Razorbacks have plenty of potential to regain their footing and have a good team next season, but at this point USC is stronger.
Once they move past their easier matchups, the schedule stiffens a bit as the next four teams have the potential to be in the top 25 come next season. Mississippi State and Florida are both highly ranked this year and that probably won’t change next season. There really isn’t ever an easy SEC game, but the Gamecocks seemed to luck out as far as their 2013 inter-conference schedule goes.
Unless RB Marcus Lattimore or any of their other talented juniors opt to go pro after this season, South Carolina figures to return their core of star players. WR Ace Sanders, QB Connor Shaw and DE Jadeveon Clowney are all expected to return and they have the potential to make up another top 10 team.
The Gamecocks are experiencing their glory days right now and their returning players, along with an easier SEC slate, sets them up for their best season yet.