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Multiple metrics agree: Gamecocks have played one of hardest schedules in the country

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Multiple metrics agree: Gamecocks have played one of hardest schedules in the country

Oct. 11, 2018


Looking at South Carolina’s football schedule, there’s the two big ones, but it doesn’t look all that hard.

Georgia is awesome. Kentucky has been awesome. But there’s a Sun Belt team and Vanderbilt. The jury is still out on Missouri.

But it turns out, that makes one of the toughest schedules in the country.

USC’s slate ranks among the seven most difficult in the land by three major numeric systems.

The Sagarin ratings: fifth nationally

Bill Connolly’s S&P+: Seventh

Sports Reference’s simple rating system: Second

It’s worth looking at exactly what makes it so challenging. Here are each opponent’s rank in Sagarin/S&P/ Sports Reference

Georgia: 5/3/1

Kentucky: 21/24/10

Missouri: 37/23/25

Vanderbilt: 69/75/45

Coastal Carolina: 112/102/70

So by that metric, USC has played three teams at worst in the top 40, at best in the top 25.

That includes four power conference games, and that likely helped because most teams will at least have two, most likely more, smaller-conference teams on the schedule, and perhaps an FCS as well (USC will have an FCS opponent and likely another mid-major when a replacement is set for the Marshall game).

It’s worth noting, most teams that play the tougher schedules don’t have sterling records. USC at 3-2 in some ways might be an accomplishment in itself.

A few Gamecocks asked about the schedule difficulty had different outlooks.

“We’ve kind of played some SEC games,” running back Ty’Son Williams said. “A lot of SEC games early. So the SEC, it’s a grind.”

Linebacker T.J. Brunson went directly to not making it an excuse, saying even if it was a hard schedule, the results speak to USC more than the opposition.

“I feel like everyone can be beaten,” Brunson said. “Like everyone on our schedule. At the end of the day, we just have to continue to prepare the way that we’ve been preparing and execute.”

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