MACON, Ga. – Mercer head coach Craig Gibson announced the Bears’ 56-game 2018 schedule Thursday morning, featuring 34 home contests at OrthoGeorgia Park and nonconference road trips to Kansas State, Georgia Tech and the defending national champion, Florida.
“We have another challenging nonconference slate ahead of us this spring against some quality programs including the likes of Florida, Bethune-Cookman, Holy Cross and Kansas State, among many others,” said head coach Craig Gibson. “We’re excited to have this many games scheduled at OrthoGeorgia Park, where we have played really well at over the last decade or so.
“One of our goals as always will be to win our 10 in-state games and then, of course, we’ll prepare for a difficult Southern Conference schedule that includes road trips to Johnson City, Tenn. [ETSU], Birmingham, Ala. [Samford], Cullowhee, N.C. [Western Carolina] and Greensboro, N.C. [UNCG].”
Mercer will play 34 of its 56 regular season games at the friendly confines of OrthoGeorgia Park this spring. The Bears are 87-44 at home over the last five seasons, including 18-9 in 2017. Mercer will host Bethune-Cookman (Feb. 16-18), UNC Asheville (Feb. 23-25), Holy Cross (March 3-5), Eastern Kentucky (March 16-18), Wofford (March 23-25), Furman (April 6-8), VMI (April 27-29), Alcorn State (May 10-12) and The Citadel (May 17-19) in three-game home series.
Stand-Out Nonconference Foes
A three-game series to Manhattan, Kan., on March 9-11 to face Big 12 opponent Kansas State is one of multiple eye-catching nonconference battles Mercer has slated. The Bears will host Bethune-Cookman and Holy Cross – 2017 NCAA Regional teams – on Feb. 16-18 and March 3-5. Mercer will also get its shot at the defending national champion Florida Gators in Gainesville, Fla. on April 24.
Fight For Georgia
In-state bragging rights will be on the line when Mercer faces Kennesaw State, Savannah State, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech and Georgia State in home-and-home two-game series.
Mercer will enter the 2018 season with expectations of claiming its fourth straight Southern Conference regular season title. Mercer has won the conference regular season title outright all three years it has been a SoCon member, including last year when it won 14 of its first 15 conference contests – 12 in a row at one point – en route to a 17-6 mark.
The Bears will take on ETSU, Samford, Western Carolina and UNCG on the road while hosting Wofford, Furman, VMI and The Citadel.
2018 Opponent Snapshot (2017 Records)
Bethune Cookman (36-25, 15-8 MEAC) 2017 NCAA Gainesville [Fla.] Regional
Florida A&M (27-26, 14-10 MEAC)
UNC Asheville (25-32, 11-13 Big South)
Kennesaw State (25-32, 10-11 ASUN)
Holy Cross (24-29, 12-8 Patriot) 2017 NCAA Corvallis [Ore.] Regional
Savannah State (12-39, 3-21 MEAC)
Kansas State (29-26, 8-16 Big 12)
Georgia Southern (38-21, 18-12 Sun Belt)
Eastern Kentucky (24-32, 10-20 OVC)
Georgia Tech (27-28, 11-19 ACC)
Wofford (28-30, 13-11 SoCon)
ETSU (30-29, 9-15 SoCon)
Furman (33-28, 14-10 SoCon)
Samford (33-26, 11-13)
Georgia State (22-33, 10-20 Sun Belt)
Western Carolina (28-28, 15-8 SoCon)
Florida (52-19, 21-9 SEC) 2017 NCAA National Champion
VMI (24-34, 7-17 SoCon)
UNCG (36-24, 14-10 SoCon) 2017 NCAA Clemson [S.C.] Regional
Alcorn State (12-33, 7-17 SWAC)
The Citadel (16-35, 7-17 SoCon)
To see the Bears’ full schedule, click here.