South Carolina football fans probably already have the biggest games of the 2018 season circled in their minds — Sept. 8 against Georgia and Nov. 24 against Clemson, but ESPN.com has other ideas.
The website released its biggest predicted matchups of the season for each of its way-too-early preseason Top 25 team, and for the No. 25 Gamecocks, it chose a home game against Missouri on Oct. 6.
“At home, in the middle of the season before a stretch run that will include Tennessee, Florida and Clemson, South Carolina needs to find a way to beat Missouri. The matchup of Drew Lock and Jake Bentley at quarterback will be appointment television with two of the league's best going head-to-head,” ESPN.com’s Alex Scarborough wrote in explaining the choice.
It seems like fair reasoning, but if facing the Tigers, who were 7-6 overall and 4-4 in the SEC last year, is the measuring stick for the season, then it won’t be the kind of year many South Carolina fans are expecting.
In a list picking a breakout player from the spring, ESPN chose Sadarius Hutcherson, a 6-foot-4, 316-pound projected starter on the offensive line.
The Gamecocks kick off the season Sept. 1 against Coastal Carolina and have three home games to start 2018.
SOUTH CAROLINA 2018 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 1 Coastal Carolina, noon (SEC Network)
Sept. 8 Georgia*, 3:30 pm (CBS)
Sept. 15 Marshall, 7:30 pm (ESPNU)
Sept. 22 at Vanderbilt*
Sept. 29 at Kentucky*
Oct. 6 Missouri*
Oct. 13 Texas A&M*
Oct. 27 Tennessee*
Nov. 3 at Ole Miss*
Nov. 10 at Florida*
Nov. 17 Chattanooga
Nov. 24 at Clemson