2012 SEC Schedule First Look: Newcomers Face Challenges; Frontrunners Get Off Light



The SEC unveiled its inaugural 14-team slate on Wednesday. Two decades elapsed since the conference integrated Arkansas and South Carolina to its flock. Now Texas A&M and Missouri take over the title of noobies, and commissioner Mike Slive may need to intervene to prevent hazing. How else can one explain the brutal slates laid before the Big 12 refugees?

Mizzou ends its SEC season with three consecutive road games. Were it not for adding the obligatory SEC late season jabroni game — MU has an open date Nov. 17 — the Tigers would not play a game in Columbia after Halloween. A&M faces a similar three-game stretch, kicking off with Auburn on Oct. 27 and concluded with the rivalry game over five decades in the making. The Aggies head to the stadium named for the coach Alabama pilfered some 53 years ago on Nov. 10. Hey, if Iowa and Nebraska can have a rivalry predicated on which produces better corn, surely the Tide and Ags can bicker over a coaching hire made when Dwight Eisenhower was POTUS.

Read on for the complete breakdown.

Alabama

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
56-41, 22-27 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

The Crimson Tide plays its annual biggie out-of-conference game in the season opener, squaring off with Michigan in the now-yearly Jerry World extravaganza. The Wolverines will be experienced, and it should be a great game. Western Carolina is the Tide’s Homecoming Week bodybag. Western Kentucky comes to Tuscaloosa in Week 2 to earn a six-figure paycheck. The fourth and final non-conference game will be played either Sept. 22 or Oct. 6.

Sept. 15: at Arkansas
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Sept. 29: Ole Miss
2011 Record: 2-10/0-8

Oct. 13: at Missouri
2011 Record: 7-5

Oct. 20: at Tennessee
2011 Record: 5-7/1-7

Oct. 27: Mississippi State
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Nov. 3: at LSU

2011 Record: 13-0/9-0

Nov. 10: Texas A&M
2011 Record: 6-6

Nov. 24: Auburn

2011 Record: 7-5/4-4

Arkansas

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
60-37, 30-27 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

The Razorbacks open with Jacksonville State, and it’s obligatory to mention the Gamecocks’ defeat of Ole Miss to open the 2010 season. Arkansas follows up with Louisiana-Monroe. FCS and Sun Belt opponents should ease a talented team into a big conference match-up with Alabama. Tulsa renews what was a fun non-conference pairing a few years ago. UA isn’t playing the mid-November cupcake game, but its fourth non-conference game has yet to be filled.

Sept. 15: ALABAMA
2011 Record: 11-1/7-1

Sept. 29: vs. Texas A&M

2011 Record: 6-6

Oct. 6: at Auburn
2011 Record: 7-5/4-4

Oct. 13: KENTUCKY
2011 Record: 5-7/2-6

Oct. 27: OLE MISS
2011 Record: 2-10/0-8

Nov. 10: at South Carolina
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Nov. 17: at Mississippi State
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Nov. 24: LSU
2011 Record: 13-0/9-0

Auburn

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
64-33, 33-25 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

What is one of the more difficult SEC schedules kicks off fittingly, with a challenging OOC contest. Auburn and Clemson continue their rivalry in the season’s opening week. The Tigers compensate by playing a light November slate. Not one but two FCS foes await AU after Halloween: first is McNeese State on Nov. 3, then Alabama A&M for the Nov. 17 Homecoming game.

Sept. 8: at Mississippi State
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Sept. 22: LSU
2011 Record: 13-0/9-0

Oct. 6: ARKANSAS
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Oct. 13: at Ole Miss
2011 Record: 2-10/0-8

Oct. 20: at Vanderbilt
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Oct. 27: TEXAS A&M
2011 Record: 6-6

Nov. 10: GEORGIA
2011 Record: 10-3/7-2

Nov. 24: at Alabama
2011 Record: 11-1/7-1

Florida

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
62-36, 26-23 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

Interestingly, the Gators finish with just one conference game after Halloween. The Florida State rivalry clash is always late in the season, but UF also play Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State in November. With Bowling Green coming to Gainesville in Week 1, any developing state championship round robin with Miami or USF is quashed.

Sept. 8: at Texas A&M
2011 Record: 6-6

Sept. 15: at Tennessee
2011 Record: 5-7/1-7

Sept. 22: KENTUCKY
2011 Record: 5-7/2-6

Oct. 6: LSU
2011 Record: 13-0/8-0

Oct. 13: at Vanderbilt
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Oct. 20: SOUTH CAROLINA
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Oct. 27: vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)
2011 Record: 10-3/7-2

Nov. 3: MISSOURI
2011 Record: 7-5

Georgia

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
60-37, 29-27 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

Annual rivalry week foe Georgia Tech remains the finale for the Bulldogs. Otherwise, it’s a very ho-hum slate out of the SEC — and even in conference, Georgia has a ready-made path back to Atlanta. FAU, arguably the worst team in the Bowl Subdivision this season, comes to Athens Sept. 15. Buffalo is the season opener, and Georgia Southern comes to town in November for the Erk Russell Bowl.

Sept. 8: at Missouri
2011 Record: 7-5

Sept. 22: VANDERBILT

2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Sept. 29: TENNESSEE

2011 Record: 5-7/1-7

Oct. 6: at South Carolina

2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Oct. 20: at Kentucky

2011 Record: 5-7/2-6

Oct. 27: vs. Florida (Jacksonville)

2011 Record: 6-6/3-5

Nov. 3: OLE MISS
2011 Record: 2-10/0-8

Nov. 10: at Auburn
2011 Record: 7-5/4-4

Kentucky

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
60-37, 27-30 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

Louisville moves back to the season opening slot, where it probably should be. Western Kentucky is also on the docket. The Hilltoppers finished with seven wins, and gave UK all it could handle in the opener. UK could conceivable end September 0-2 in its home commonwealth. Kent State and Homecoming Week vs. Samford round out the Wildcats’ OOC schedule.

Sept. 22: at Florida
2011 Record: 6-6/3-5

Sept. 29: SOUTH CAROLINA

2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Oct. 6: MISSISSIPPI STATE
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Oct. 13: at Arkansas
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Oct. 20: GEORGIA
2011 Record: 10-3/7-2

Oct. 27: at Missouri
2011 Record: 7-5

Nov. 3: VANDERBILT

2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Nov. 24: at Tennessee
2011 Record: 5-7/1-7

LSU

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
58-38, 28-28 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

The 2012 slate is oddly lacking a marquee non-conference game for LSU, something of a departure from recent Les Miles scheduling. Washington does come to town Week 2, but the Huskies are likely a slightly-better-than-.500 team from the Pac-12 next year. Idaho, the Mean Green of North Texas and FCS Towson comprise the rest of the docket; not exactly a murderers’ row.

Sept. 22: at Auburn
2011 Record: 7-5/4-4

Oct. 6: at Florida
2011 Record: 6-6/3-5

Oct. 13: SOUTH CAROLINA
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Oct. 20: at Texas A&M
2011 Record: 6-6

Nov. 3: ALABAMA
2011 Record: 11-1/7-1

Nov. 10: MISSISSIPPI STATE
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Nov. 17: OLE MISS
2011 Record: 2-10/0-8

Nov. 24: at Arkansas
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Mississippi State

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
59-38, 33-28 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

Dan Mullen’s team scheduled lightly out-of-conference, probably a wise move given the Bulldogs play a tough league slate and only made the postseason this year as a result of their four OOC wins. Two of MSU’s non-conference opponents are FCS: Jackson State and South Alabama (USA moves up to the Sun Belt in 2013). Troy and MTSU round out the schedule, meaning MSU will go the entire non-conference without playing a BCS conference foe.

Sept. 8: AUBURN

2011 Record: 7-5/4-4

Oct. 6: at Kentucky
2011 Record: 5-7/2-6

Oct. 13: TENNESSEE
2011 Record: 5-7/1-7

Oct. 27: at Alabama
2011 Record: 11-1/7-1

Nov. 3: TEXAS A&M
2011 Record: 6-6

Nov. 10: at LSU
2011 Record: 13-0/9-0

Nov. 17: ARKANSAS
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Nov. 24: at Ole Miss
2011 Record: 2-10/0-8

Missouri

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
59-41, 26-29 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

The Tigers have yet to formulate the non-conference schedule, beyond a return match from last year’s Week 2, overtime loss at Arizona State.

Sept. 8: GEORGIA
2011 Record: 10-3/7-2

Sept. 22: at South Carolina
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Oct. 6: VANDERBILT
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Oct. 13: ALABAMA

2011 Record: 11-1/7-1

Oct. 27: KENTUCKY
2011 Record: 5-7/2-6

Nov. 3: at Florida
2011 Record: 6-6/3-5

Nov. 10: at Tennessee
2011 Record: 5-7/1-7

Nov. 24: at Texas A&M
2011 Record: 6-6

Ole Miss

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
69-29, 37-21 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

So that oft-referenced JSU-Ole Miss game? Well, Central Arkansas went 8-4 in the FCS this past season and features former Arkansas reserve Nathan Dick at quarterback. Let’s get that buzz started early. The Bears are one of three straight home games for the Rebels to open the Hugh Freeze era. UTEP comes to Oxford amid that stretch, as well as Texas. Ole Miss goes on the road once out of league, traveling to Tulane on Sept. 22.

Sept. 29: at Alabama
2011 Record: 11-1/7-1

Oct. 6: TEXAS A&M
2011 Record: 6-6

Oct. 13: AUBURN
2011 Record: 7-5/4-4

Oct. 27: at Arkansas
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Nov. 3: at Georgia
2011 Record: 10-3/7-2

Nov. 10: VANDERBILT
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Nov. 17: at LSU
2011 Record: 13-0/9-0

Nov. 24: MISSISSIPPI STATE
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

South Carolina

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
62-36, 30-28 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

The Gamecocks open 2012 in conference action, and on Thursday night with Vanderbilt. East Carolina is the non-conference opener, with UAB following and Wofford in the Homecoming slot. South Carolina’s rivalry game vs. Clemson rounds out the non-conference schedule, and that one should be a dandy. Both teams expect to be contenders in 2012.

Aug. 30: at Vanderbilt
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Sept. 22: MISSOURI
2011 Record: 7-5

Sept. 29: at Kentucky
2011 Record: 5-7/2-6

Oct. 6: GEORGIA
2011 Record: 10-3/7-2

Oct. 13: at LSU
2011 Record: 13-0/9-0

Oct. 20: at Florida
2011 Record: 6-6/3-5

Oct. 27: TENNESSEE
2011 Record: 5-7/1-7

Nov. 10: ARKANSAS
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Tennessee

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
61-36, 27-22 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

The Volunteers open 2012 with an NC State team that finished 2011 strong. The Wolf Pack should be back ‘causing mass destruction better next season given its experience, extra practice from the bowl game, and upward trend. Otherwise, UT’s non-conference slate is thoroughly meh. The Vols face FCS opponent Georgia State, Troy and Akron. The latter has won all of two games the last two seasons.

Sept. 15: FLORIDA
2011 Record: 6-6/3-5

Sept. 29: at Georgia
2011 Record: 10-3/7-2

Oct. 13: at Mississippi State
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Oct. 20: ALABAMA
2011 Record: 11-1/7-1

Oct. 27: at South Carolina
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Nov. 10: MISSOURI
2011 Record: 7-5

Nov. 17: at Vanderbilt
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Nov. 24: KENTUCKY
2011 Record: 5-7/2-6

Texas A&M

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
62-35, 31-26 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

Sept. 8: FLORIDA

2011 Record: 6-6/3-5

Sept. 29: vs. Arkansas
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Oct. 6: at Ole Miss
2011 Record: 2-10/0-8

Oct. 20: LSU
2011 Record: 13-0/9-0

Oct. 27: at Auburn
2011 Record: 7-5/4-4

Nov. 3: at Mississippi State
2011 Record: 6-6/2-6

Nov. 10: at Alabama
2011 Record: 11-1/7-1

Nov. 24: MISSOURI
2011 Record: 7-5

Vanderbilt

Conference Opponent 2011 Composite
52-45, 23-34 SEC

Non-Conference Notes

Wake Forest rounds out the Commodores’ overall schedule once again, one of two BCS conference opponents awaiting James Franklin’s team in 2012. The other is Northwestern. VU will take on Presbyterian in an early season tune-up game, then welcome the MAC’s newest member UMass to Nashville on Oct. 27.

Aug. 30: SOUTH CAROLINA
2011 Record: 10-2/6-2

Sept. 22: at Georgia
2011 Record: 10-3/7-2

Oct. 6: at Missouri
2011 Record: 7-5

Oct. 13: FLORIDA
2011 Record: 6-6/3-5

Oct. 20: AUBURN
2011 Record: 7-5/4-4

Nov. 3: at Kentucky
2011 Record: 5-7/2-6

Nov. 10: at Ole Miss
2011 Record: 2-10/0-8

Nov. 17: TENNESSEE
2011 Record: 5-7/1-7

Tags: 2012 Schedules Alabama Crimson Tide Arkansas Razorbacks Auburn Tigers Florida Gators Georgia Bulldogs Kentucky Louisiana State Tigers Mississippi State Missouri Ole Miss South Carolina Gamecocks Tennessee Volunteers Texas A&M Aggies Vanderbilt