The year 2020 is the year of the metal rat, according to the Chinese zodiac.
But if you prefer the Gospel of Dabo, there seems to be little to prevent 2020 from being the year of the Tiger — again.
Win or lose in the 2019 national championship game on Jan. 13 against LSU, coach Dabo Swinney's Clemson juggernaut is set to roll again in 2020. With the nation's No. 1 recruiting class joining star quarterback Trevor Lawrence for what will be his junior season, Clemson football will surely be the state's No. 1 sports topic in the upcoming year.
Here's a look ahead at 20 sports stories that will be trending in the Lowcountry and in the state in 2020.
1. Trevor for Heisman
The lanky quarterback with all the flow didn't get much love in the 2019 Heisman voting, collecting only three first-place votes to finish seventh, well back of winner Joe Burrow of LSU.
That was due to what was perceived as a slow start for the 6-foot-6 Lawrence. But he finished the season with standout numbers — 68.8 percent completions for 3,172 yards and 34 touchdowns against eight interceptions — while running for 407 yards and seven more scores.
Only one of the Heisman vote-getters who finished ahead of him, Ohio State QB Justin Fields, should return next season. Coupled with his performance in a stirring come-from-behind semifinal victory over Ohio State, a standout showing in the national title game would get Lawrence's 2020 Heisman campaign off to a shiny start.
2. Can Will Muschamp keep his job?
When the rubble settled after a disastrous 4-8 record in his fourth season, South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp held on to his job — but just barely, it seemed.
Muschamp was forced to reshuffle his coaching staff and hire a new offensive coordinator, and also gave up an automatic annual raise of $200,000, reducing his potential buyout after the 2020 season from $15.3 million to $13.2 million.
Muschamp is betting that new offensive coordinator Mike Bobo can make something out of a shaky quarterback situation, with Ryan Hilinski coming off knee surgery and freshman Luke Doty and transfer Collin Hill from Colorado State joining the QB room. The state's top recruit, Hammond defensive end Jordan Burch, will provide a big boost if he follows through on his commitment by signing in February.
3. Final Four for Dawn?
With Dawn Staley's South Carolina women's basketball team off to a 12-1 start and ranked No. 4, it's not to soon to ask: Where is the Final Four this season?
One of the four regionals is set for the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville on March 27-30. The four regional champs head to the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans for the Final Four on April 3 and 5.
Staley's Gamecocks are gunning for their third Final Four and second national championship in six seasons.
4. Olympic dreams
The 2016 Olympics were a big deal for two Lowcountry products. Burke High School graduate Raven Saunders finished fifth in the women's shot put in Rio de Janeiro, while Fort Dorchester's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn ran for Puerto Rico in the 100-meter hurdles.
With the Olympic Trials set for June, can Saunders and Camacho-Quinn — both three-time NCAA champs in their events — regain Olympic form in time for Tokyo 2020 in July? Stay tuned.
5. Volvo Car Open
It's shaping up as quite a birthday party as the Volvo Car Open women's tennis tournament celebrates its 20th year on Daniel Island in April.
Slated to attend the party are current world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, reigning Wimbledon champ Simona Halep, two-time Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza and 2018 and 2019 Volvo champs Kiki Bertens and Madison Keys. Four-time Grand Slam champ Kim Clijsters, coming out of retirement in 2020, will play in Charleston for the first time.
6. March Madness
South Carolina's recent victory over defending NCAA basketball champ Virginia suggests the Gamecocks could make it to March Madness in 2020. Clemson's loss to the Ivy League's Yale suggests that the Tigers won't.
Mid-major long shots from the Palmetto State, in order: Furman, College of Charleston, Wofford, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, The Citadel, Winthrop, USC Upstate, S.C. State and Presbyterian.
7. Red-hot Stingrays
After losing just twice in their first 26 games, the South Carolina Stingrays look like a good bet in the ECHL playoffs, set to start in April.
The Stingrays have won the Kelly Cup three times, the last time in 2009, and made the finals in 2015 and 2017. January, February and March are chock-full with 26 home games at the North Charleston Coliseum.
8. Baseball follies
The state's 2019 college baseball season was a forgettable one, with only Clemson making the 64-team NCAA Tournament field (and the Tigers went out with a quick 1-2 showing).
Are coaching seats warming up in Clemson and in Columbia? Has College of Charleston put all its courtroom drama behind it? Can Coastal Carolina regain the form that won a College World Series title in 2016?
We won't have to wait long to find out. Baseball starts in February.
9. New start for Battery
The Charleston Battery will be under new ownership and will have a new home in 2020 at College of Charleston's Ralph Lundy Field at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant.
Former Battery principal owner Eric Bowman and B Sports Entertainment sold MUSC Health Stadium on Daniel Island – the club’s home for the past two decades – last May to Holder Properties for $6.4 million. The stadium is set to be demolished for commercial or residential development.
What is the club's long-term future under new owner Rob Salvatore, who takes over the oldest continually running pro soccer club in the U.S.?
10. Bulldog breakthrough?
In 2019, Citadel football knocked off an ACC foe for the first time (Georgia Tech), won at Furman and remained in contention for the Southern Conference championship until the final weeks of the season.
But the end result was a 6-6 record (4-4) in the SoCon, another in a string of .500 or so seasons for coach Brent Thompson since his 10-2, SoCon title debut in 2016.
Can the Bulldogs break through the .500 wall in 2020? The return of quarterback Brandon Rainey and receiver Raleigh Webb as fifth-year players will help, as does a schedule that includes five home games in the first seven.
11. SCHSL realignment
The High School League's plan for 2020-22 will surely cause the usual heartburn and appeals for justice. Biggest movers locally are James Island Charter (from Class AAAAA down to AAAA) and Oceanside Collegiate (from AA to AAA).
12. Panthers in Rock Hill
The Carolina Panthers and the city of Rock Hill will continue working toward a $2 billion deal that will bring the NFL team's headquarters to the S.C. town just south of Charlotte.
13. New stadium
The Charleston County School District's new $22.5 million regional football stadium in North Charleston should open in the fall of 2020. It will be the home field for North Charleston, Stall, Academic Magnet and Military Magnet high schools.
14. PGA 2021
May 17 of 2020 will mark exactly one year from the return of the PGA Championship to the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island. The major championship is set for May 17-23 in 2021. Tiger Woods will be 45 years old.
15. Pool time
The new $22.5 million Aquatics Center near Fort Dorchester High School, built by the City of North Charleston and Dorchester School District 2, should be ready to open in the spring of 2020. Everybody in the pool!
16. Azalea blooms again
After a year off for the U.S. Women's Open, the Azalea Invitational, one of the country's top amateur golf tournaments, returns to the Country Club of Charleston March 26-29. No word on Tony Romo's entry.
17. Minor-league mayhem
The Charleston RiverDogs will escape the axe as Major League Baseball tries to trim its minor-league system by 42 teams after the 2020 season. But the future of the minor-league landscape will continue to be a major story in small towns across the country.
18. Charter, private schools
The S.C. High School League set up a committee to study how to handle "non-traditional schools" such as charter schools (Oceanside Collegiate) and private schools (Bishop England) and their perceived competitive advantages. The committee's recommendations, if any, should be known in 2020.
19. Buc building
Coach Autry Denson's Charleston Southern football team won its last four games to finish 6-6 in his first season. In 2020, the Bucs will get shots at The Citadel and Arkansas of the SEC.
20. Cooper River Bridge Run
April 4. Get over it.