The post-Johnny Manziel era is set to get underway for No. 20 Texas A&M, which faces a brutal season-opening test at SEC rival and ninth-ranked South Carolina on Thursday. Even though the Aggies must replace the former Heisman Trophy winner, many will argue that the Gamecocks endured an even bigger loss than Manziel with the departure of all-world defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the top overall pick in the NFL draft. It will mark the first-ever meeting between the schools.South Carolina, which never has won an SEC championship, is coming off three consecutive 11-win seasons under legendary coach Steve Spurrier and was the preseason choice to win the East Division. Texas A&M was expected to struggle upon moving from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2012 but, buoyed by the wondrous talents of Manziel, the Aggies went 20-6 in their first two seasons and capped each with a bowl victory. Sophomore Kenny Hill will be in the spotlight after narrowly beating out Kyle Allen as Manziel's successor.TV: 6 p.m. ET, SEC Network. LINE: South Carolina -10.5ABOUT TEXAS A&M (2013: 9-4, 4-4 SEC): The Aggies led the SEC in scoring (44.2 ppg) and total offense (538.4 yards) for the second straight season, so the onus will be on Hill, who played sparingly as a freshman and threw for 183 yards on 16-of-22 over parts of four games. Senior Malcome Kennedy is the top returnee at wide receiver, but Ricky Seals-Jones and explosive freshman Speedy Noil are elite talents and will be counted on to replace NFL first-round pick Mike Evans, while Trey Williams, Tra Carson and Brandon Williams head a deep running back corps. Cornerback Deshazor Everett leads a defense that was singed for 151 points over the final four games last season and will hope for immediately production from freshman defensive end Myles Garrett, among the nation's top recruits.ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (2013: 11-2, 6-2): The Gamecocks also have a change under center, with longtime backup Dylan Thompson poised to take the reins after backing up Connor Shaw the past three seasons. Although fifth-year senior Thompson is more of a pure passer compared to dual-threat Shaw, South Carolina is expected to rely heavily on a ground game featuring Mike Davis, a preseason first-team SEC selection who rumbled for 1,183 yards last season and will be running behind one of the top offensive lines in the conference. While replacing Clowney will be impossible, the Gamecocks also suffered other key losses on the defensive side and will need big seasons from nose tackle J.T. Surratt, cornerback Brison Williams and freshman linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams.EXTRA POINTS1. South Carolina and Alabama are the only SEC programs to limit opponents to fewer than 21 points per game in each of the last three seasons.2. Texas A&M is 10-2 away from home under coach Kevin Sumlin the past two seasons.3. Davis has been bothered by a rib injury, but Spurrier expects him to be at "full speed" for the opener.PREDICTION: South Carolina 30, Texas A&M 20