2021 South Carolina football schedule analysis: Few "easy" games in Shane Beamer's first season

 Blake Lovell   in Football

(South Carolina Athletics)

Here are some thoughts on South Carolina's football schedule for the 2021 season.

SCHEDULE

Sept. 4 vs. Eastern Illinois

Sept. 11 at East Carolina

Sept. 18 at Georgia

Sept. 25 vs. Kentucky

Oct. 2 vs. Troy

Oct. 9 at Tennessee

Oct. 16 vs. Vanderbilt

Oct. 23 at Texas A&M

Nov. 6 vs. Florida

Nov. 13 at Missouri

Nov. 20 vs. Auburn

Nov. 27 vs. Clemson

ANALYSIS

- For a team in rebuilding mode, you take opportunities where you can get them. That's the situation for South Carolina, which has very few "easy" games on the schedule. The Gamecocks should - the keyword there being should - take care of business against Eastern Illinois, East Carolina, and Troy. Elsewhere, it won't be easy at all.

- Opening SEC play at Georgia, the favorite to win the East, isn't ideal. The Bulldogs have won five of the past six games in the series.

- The three-game SEC stretch that will likely define South Carolina's season: Sept. 25 vs. Kentucky, Oct. 9 at Tennessee, and Oct. 16 vs. Vanderbilt. Going 2-1 seems like a necessity to reach a bowl game in Shane Beamer's first season.

- Where do the SEC wins come after that? The Gamecocks draw a top 10 team from the West in Texas A&M. Defeating Florida, even if it is in Columbia, will be a challenge. Missouri is undoubtedly on the rise. Auburn has its own rebuilding to do on offense, but the Tigers, on paper, are still a more complete team. 

- And then there's Clemson. Dabo Swinney's team has defeated South Carolina by an average of 32.3 points in the past four meetings.