The SEC has released its inaugural 14-team schedule for 2012, a schedule that was quickly put together and, if the legal ball does not bounce right, may not get played.
Missouri opens SEC play on September 8th with a home game against Georgia. The remaining schedule gives Mizzou games at home against Vanderbilt, Alabama, and Kentucky and away games at South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, and at A&M.
If you thought Missouri has a rough go of things next year in the SEC, check out A&M’s gauntlet. The Aggies open conference play on September 8th at home against Florida. Then they play Arkansas, at Ole Miss, LSU, at Auburn, at Mississippi State, at Alabama, and Missouri. Ouch. Four of those games are against programs which have won the last five BCS championships, plus the one to be determined on January 9th, 2012. In addition, Arkansas is a top-10 team this year.
This schedule presents some oddities for A&M and Missouri. The Missouri game at A&M will mark the third game in three years in which the Tigers travel to College Station. Missouri’s Kentucky game, set for October 27th, is the last set home game for Mizzou. The remaining conference games for the Tigers, against Florida, Tennessee, and A&M, are all on the road.
Missouri’s non-conference schedule still has to be set, so it’s possible that Missouri will have a home game on November 17th, the only open date that month. The most-likely opponent is Miami of Ohio. Missouri was set to travel to Oxford, Oh in September, but that date is now a conference game for Missouri. Miami currently has no game set on November 17th, and they likely would give up the home game for the right price.
Oh to be the cupcake.
The odd nature of the first 14 team schedule is understandable since it had to be set in such a quick manner There was little time for the schools to meet and discuss long-term scheduling philosophies, but that’s a short term problem and something that will get ironed out in the future.
Of course all of this is still up in the air because there is still the small matter of whether West Virginia will be allowed to leave the Big East for the Big XII next season. Plus the exit penalties Texas A&M and Missouri will have to pay to leave the Big XII have yet to be determined.
Sports leagues are firms in the sense that the members work together to determine the parameters that allows for competition to take place and defines how a champion is determined. What we have here is the first installment of how the firm known as the SEC is handling their expansion.