Josh Kendall

ESPN picked Gamecocks 'most important game' in 2018 ... and, wait, what?

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 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,”’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.


*=SEC game

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