After starting the SEC game with a loss in Florida on Saturday night, Tennessee now has a few important games ahead against rivals SEC East to start October. The Vols play Missouri this week before returning to Neyland Stadium the following week to face South Carolina in what will be a clash between the freshman coaches at Josh Heupel and Shane projector. The SEC finalized start times and televised designations for the Oct. 9 games on Monday, and Tennessee’s game against South Carolina will start at noon and will be televised by ESPN2.
The second Saturday in October features one of the SEC’s top lists with several high profile clashes. In addition to Vols-Gamecocks, there are Alabama-Texas A&M, Arkansas-Ole Miss, Georgia-Auburn, LSU-Kentucky, and Vanderbilt-Florida. Missouri is taking a break from SEC play with a home game against North Texas, and Mississippi State has its opening date.
Like Tennessee, South Carolina leaves September at 2-2 and welcomes Troy this week (3:30 p.m., SEC Network) ahead of the game at Tennessee.
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The Vols have won the last two games of this series, which has featured many exciting and realistic games over the past decade. South Carolina last won at Neyland Stadium in 2017, a 15-9 victory deciding an end-game failure as Tennessee looked to steal the victory late. The Gamecocks were beaten on their last visit to Knoxville in 2019, when the Vols scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to win 41-21.
This showdown will pit two of the SEC’s new coaches against each other as Heupel and Beamer both attempt to rebuild their schedules.
South Carolina hired its former assistant, who was on staff for four seasons (2007-10) under Steve spurrier, led multiple positions and was the recruiting coordinator for two seasons as the Gamecocks rose in the SEC East pecking order, leading the division and playing in the SEC Championship game for the only time in history from the program. Beamer was a major recruiter who helped South Carolina land several players who would win 11 games three seasons in a row after he left. He has spent the past three seasons as an assistant head coach and tight ends coach in Oklahoma.
The 44-year-old first-time head coach is the son of legendary former Virginia Tech head coach Frank beamer, and he was a graduate assistant in Tennessee under Philippe Fulmer for three seasons (2001-03). He also worked in the State of Mississippi for Sylvester Croom (2004-06) coach of cornerbacks and running backs and Georgia for Smart kirby (2016-17) as Tight Ends Coach and Special Teams Coordinator. Beamer also worked for his father at Virginia Tech (2011-15) as a running back coach.
Beamer won their first two games as South Carolina crushed East Illinois and made up for a 14-point deficit to win East Carolina on a field goal at the end of time, but the Gamecocks were routed in Georgia in their SEC opener and lost 16-10 at home to Kentucky on Saturday night.