Does The SEC Schedule Change Help Or Hurt South Carolina?
With the South Carolina Gamecocks trying to bounce back from 4-8 finish last season, does the SEC moving to a 10-game conference-only schedule help or hurt them on that quest?
The schedule keeps the same division and cross-division matchups, which was already a tall order for the Gamecocks as they're scheduled to play defending champion LSU as well as Florida and Georgia in their own division.
According to Sports Illustrated's All Gators writer, the Gamecocks have the toughest strength of schedule within the SEC.
According to Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger, the conference is looking to use strength of schedule when determining each team's final two opponents in an effort of fairness.
A tough schedule already means the Gamecocks could get a bit of a break as they would face add two weaker SEC opponents to the schedule.
Will this relieve some of the pressure the Gamecocks face coming into the season? Possibly.
Installing a new offense is never easy and South Carolina for sure could've used the two non-conference games against Coastal Carolina and East Carolina to work out the kinks. But if they can put the aforementioned easier SEC games at the start of the season it could work in their favor.
While the Razorbacks lead the overall series 13-10, the Gamecocks have won the last three meetings between the two teams, most recently the 48-22 win in 2017.
Should Mississippi State be the team added to the slate, they are in a similar position to the Gamecocks as they just hired head coach Mike Leach and aren't predicted to finish higher than sixth in their division according to SI publishers.
An earlier start date to spring practice also helped South Carolina as the Gamecocks got to his the field and get acclimated to the new coaching staff before the shut down.
Right now the season start has been pushed back three weeks for SEC teams and is scheduled to start Sept. 26.