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Here is our Tennessee football Volunteers preview at the Gamecocks.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s football time in Tennessee. Vol Nation has waited patiently in hopes of reaching the next level this season, and Tennessee football is finally ready to kick off its 2020 schedule.

With the times that we are living in, we get a different schedule this year for college football. Ten games and it is all conference matchups. This is a good thing. We can skip the “cupcake” games and get right to it. The main course is served every Saturday.

The Volunteers take on the South Carolina Gamecocks during what we might call week one, although it’s week four for the season. Here is everything you need to know about Tennessee football’s matchup.

No. 16 Tennessee Volunteers at South Carolina Gamecocks

When: Saturday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. E.T.

Where: Williams-Brice Stadium; Columbia, S.C.

TV: SEC Network

Live Stream: WatchESPN

There is plenty of reason to expect great things from the Vols. They had a lot of uncertainty the past couple of years, and they have to replace some key talent this year in Jauan Jennings, Marquez Callaway, Daniel Bituli, Darrell Taylor and Nigel Warrior.

However, the offensive and defensive lines don’t change. Trey Smith and Brandon Kennedy returning should be a huge boost on the interior offensive line. There are also numerous players who started as true freshmen last year and are now back, including Henry To’o To’o, Wanya Morris, Darnell Wright and Jaylen McCollough.

Coming into the season, Jarrett Guarantano should have a lot of confidence. Despite losing Jennings and Callaway, he has many of the same guys he has worked with for the past two years, including Josh Palmer and Brandon Johnson. It isn’t anything new for him. He has to deliver, because he is playing under the same offensive coordinator, Jim Chaney.

Guarantano said in a practice report earlier this month, “The play becomes a lot more clean and more opportunities to excel.” Everyone knows the terminology, and it allows for the team to all be on the same page.

Chaney said he has seen great improvement in all the quarterbacks but back-up spot is still up for grabs. Entering his second year, Chaney is crucial for the Vols. He has helped the quarterbacks form a close knit relationship and that will have a huge impact on performance. It’s something Tennessee football hasn’t had in a while.

Lining up on the other side, South Carolina is coming off a 4-8 campaign. Head coach Will Muschamp, who was once a defensive coordinator for Nick Saban just like head coach Jeremy Pruitt, is entering his sixth year on the job. Muschamp has a new quarterback, Collin Hill, as his starter, who is a graduate transfer from he Colorado State Rams.

Speaking of CSU, USC’s new offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo, spent the past five years as head coach of there. Pruitt and UT offensive line coach Will Friend are very familiar with Bobo, as Friend was his offensive coordinator at CSU from 2015 to 2017, and Pruitt and him were assistants together under Mark Richt at the Georgia Bulldogs in 2014.

Next: Tennessee-South Carolina: 10 keys to the game

UT enters this game ranked No. 16, and we will see how they live up to that. The East isn’t cornered to any team in particular this year. It is up to Jeremy Pruitt and Tennessee football to determine their fate. This should be a close game, and it is crucial that the Vols pick up this win.

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