SDS takes a trip around the SEC and ranks the schedule strength of all 14 SEC teams. We’ll work our way down to the toughest schedule in the SEC. Next up is South Carolina.
Previous Schedule Rankings:
- NCAA ranks the 2013 SEC schedules
- #14 Alabama football schedule
- #13 Texas A&M football schedule
- #12 Missouri football schedule
- #11 Vanderbilt football schedule
- #10 South Carolina football schedule
- #9 Ole Miss football schedule
- #8 Georgia football schedule
- #7 Mississippi State football schedule
- #6 Auburn football schedule
- #5 Florida football schedule
- #4 Tennessee football schedule
- #3 Kentucky football schedule
- #2 LSU football schedule
- #1 Arkansas football schedule
South Carolina has posted back-to-back 11-win seasons and is looking to take the next step as a program and win an SEC Championship. The Gamecocks are in the thick of national title talks, too, with a favorable slate of conference games.
In fact, South Carolina has the easiest schedule of any of the SEC powers, including Florida and Georgia. The non-conference games aren’t exactly patty cakes and pushovers, but the in-conference slate is very manageable. In 2013, South Carolina’s strength of schedule ranks No. 10 in the SEC.
2013 South Carolina Gamecocks Schedule
- Aug. 29th – North Carolina
- Sept. 7 – at Georgia
- Sept. 14 – Vanderbilt
- Sept. 28 – at UCF
- Oct. 5 – Kentucky
- Oct. 12 – at Arkansas
- Oct. 19 – at Tennessee
- Oct. 26 – at Missouri
- Nov. 2 – Mississippi State
- Nov. 16 – Florida
- Nov. 23 – Coastal Carolina
- Nov. 30 – Clemson
By The Numbers
- 7 Home Games
- 5 Road Games
- 1 Cupcake
- 3 Preseason top 25 projected opponents (Georgia, Florida and Clemson)
Strength of Schedule Rank
- SEC East: 5th
- SEC: 10th
- Cross-divisional opponents: Arkansas and Mississippi State
- Opponents winning percentage in 2012: 93-60 (60.7%)
- Bye weeks: Before UCF and Florida
South Carolina’s strength of schedule is the most favorable slate of any of the SEC East powers for a couple different reasons. The biggest reason the Gamecocks are one of the favorites to win the SEC is because they escape Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU from the SEC West. Steve Spurrier has been known to vent about the schedule. Last year Spurrier said if he could make the schedule, Georgia would be playing LSU and Carolina would play Ole Miss. Spurrier got his wish, because UGA hosts LSU in 2013. So, escaping any of the big three from the SEC West immediately puts Spurrier’s Gamecocks as a primary favorite in the East.
The two cross-divisional opponents are a rebuilding Arkansas program and a 2012 collapsing Mississippi State team.
The three toughest games of the year actually trend in favor of South Carolina. The Gamecocks face a daunting road trip between the hedges at Georgia, a team that Spurrier currently dominates, and they host both Florida and Clemson in Columbia. For some reason, Georgia and Clemson have had the toughest time beating the Gamecocks, and while Florida and USC have traded punches in recent history. Georgia and Clemson haven’t punched back.
Besides Clemson, two other non-conference opponents in North Carolina and UCF combined for 18 wins in 2012. So, aside from Coastal Carolina, South Carolina’s non-conference slate is actually decently strong.
Last year, the Gamecocks had the fourth toughest schedule in the SEC and the toughest schedule of any SEC East team, and they still managed to plug away yet another 11-win season.
If South Carolina looks to take that big next step as a program and win an SEC Championship, the strength of schedule isn’t exactly a big hindrance.
Be on the lookout for the rest of this series as we break down every schedule in the SEC for the 2013 season.
Photo Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports