South Carolina coach Will Muschamp is “very confident” the Gamecocks will be playing a football game on Dec. 1 and have told their players to expect that.
“I’m very confident we will be playing Dec. 1. I don’t know against who,” Muschamp said Tuesday. “That’s (athletic director Ray) Tanner, and I’ll let him handle that.”
The Gamecocks scheduled Sept. 15 game against Marshall was canceled due to the potential impact of Hurricane Florence. South Carolina will have a schedule availability on Dec. 1 unless it qualifies for the SEC Championship Game, which is a long-shot considering the Gamecocks are 3-3 overall and 2-3 in the SEC heading into Saturday’s game against Tennessee.
“Oh yeah, we’re playing on Dec. 1,” senior linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams said. “We don’t know who we’re playing, but coach Muschamp has made it clear that we’re probably going to play on Dec. 1.”
The Thundering Herd would be available to play if they don’t qualify for the Conference USA Championship game, but they are in second place in their division at the moment and South Carolina officials may not feel like they can wait to see if Marshall is available before locking up a 12th opponent for Dec. 1.
If the Gamecocks move on from Marshall or Marshall is not available, Southern Miss seems to make the most sense. The Eagles (3-3 overall, 2-1 Conference USA) had their Sept. 15 game against Appalachian State canceled due to Hurricane Florence.
Appalachian State also needs a 12th game, but the Mountaineers are ranked No. 25 in the country and need to replace a home game. App State is already on USC’s schedule for 2019.
South Carolina almost certainly will play its 12th game in Williams-Brice Stadium, which makes available teams UCF, Virginia Tech and West Virginia much more complicated as potential opponents.
The Gamecocks may need a 12th game to earn a sixth win and gain bowl eligibility, but Muschamp said that has not affected his desire to add a 12th game back to the schedule.
“We want to play 12 games,” he said.