The University of South Carolina football team has accepted a bid to play in the 2018 Outback Bowl, it was announced today. The Gamecocks will face the Michigan Wolverines at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., at noon ET on Monday, January 1 2018. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
South Carolina heads into the contest with an overall record of 8-4, including a 5-3 mark in the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks finished in sole possession of second place in the SEC Eastern Division, behind only conference champion Georgia. Two of Carolina’s four losses this season came to teams that are in the Division I national semifinals. The Gamecocks are the only “Power Five” conference team to improve their record by more than one win in each of the past two years. Michigan finished the regular season with an 8-4 record, including a 5-4 mark in the Big Ten.
I’d like to congratulate head coach Will Muschamp for his leadership of our football program,” said Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner. “It’s a compliment to him, his staff and the players for the tremendous strides we’ve made over the past two years, and their hard work has been rewarded with a New Year’s Day bowl. I’m also extremely excited for our fans to have an opportunity to watch this team play one more time in a great destination city like Tampa and against a storied program like the Michigan Wolverines. It should be a fun week culminating with a great game on January 1 in the Outback Bowl.”
This will mark the fourth meeting between the two schools and the second between the two squads in the Outback Bowl. The Gamecocks were 33-28 winners on January 1, 2013 in one of the most memorable bowl games in recent history, one that gave us “The Hit,” by Carolina All-American Jadeveon Clowney. The teams also split two contests in the 1980s, with the Gamecocks posting a 17-14 win in Ann Arbor in 1980, and Michigan winning by a 34-3 count in Columbia in 1985.
South Carolina will be making its fifth trip to the Outback Bowl. The Gamecocks are 3-1 in previous appearances with back-to-back wins over Ohio State in 2001 (24-7) and 2002 (31-28), and a 31-10 loss to Iowa in 2009, before posting the 33-28 win over Michigan in 2013.
“I’m excited to be heading to Tampa to play Michigan in the Outback Bowl,” said head coach Will Muschamp. “This is a great reward for our staff, our players, the University and our fans for all that we’ve accomplished. Our goal is to enjoy the bowl experience and to come home with nine wins for just the seventh time in school history.”
The Gamecocks will be appearing in their 22nd bowl game in school history. Carolina is 8-13 in bowl games, but has won four of its last five bowl appearances, topping Nebraska in the 2012 Capital One Bowl, Michigan in the 2013 Outback Bowl, Wisconsin in the 2014 Capital One Bowl, and Miami (Fla.) in the 2014 Independence Bowl, before falling to South Florida in overtime in the 2016 Birmingham Bowl.
The Gamecocks have been bowl-eligible in 13 of the past 14 seasons. They elected not to participate in a bowl game following a 6-5 season in 2004, did not receive a bowl bid following a 6-6 campaign in 2007, and did not qualify for a bowl following a 3-9 season in 2015.
-per USC Athletics