New teams bookend SEC slate


Published: Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.

After weeks of tweaking and jumping over speed bumps, the Southeastern Conference released its 2012 football schedule last Wednesday and Florida, as reported by The Sun recently, will face both of the newcomers to the league.

Facts

2012 GATOR GAMES

The SEC Championship Game is Dec. 1 in Atlanta.

Sept. 1: Bowling Green.

Sept. 8: at Texas A&M.

Sept. 15: at Tennessee.

Sept. 22: Kentucky.

Oct. 6: LSU.

Oct. 13: at Vanderbilt.

Oct. 20: at South Carolina.

Oct. 27: Georgia (Jacksonville).

Nov. 3: Missouri.

Nov. 10: Louisiana-Lafayette.

Nov. 17: Jacksonville State.

Nov. 24: at Florida State.

The Gators will travel to College Station on Sept. 8 to face Texas A&M and will play host to Missouri on Nov. 3. This is the first time since 1995 that Florida has been scheduled to open SEC play with a team other than Tennessee. In 2001, Florida's game with Tennessee was moved to the end of the season because of terrorist attacks on 9/11.

The new schedule is not a template for future years, but instead is a one-year schedule with an emphasis on giving the new SEC teams several marquee home games, according to someone familiar with the process. The league's athletic directors will get together at a future date to determine future schedules.

Florida's usual open date before the Georgia game is being replaced with a game against South Carolina in Gainesville. Instead, Florida will have its open date before a home game against LSU.

The Gators also will close the regular season with three straight non-conference games against Louisiana-Lafayette, Jacksonville State and Florida State.

As reported by The Sun recently, Georgia again gets a break in the schedule this season, Alabama was scheduled to rotate onto Georgia's schedule but the Bulldogs will again manage to dodge the top three teams in the West — Alabama, LSU and Arkansas. Georgia opens SEC play at Missouri and plays its other seven conference games against teams that went a combined 20-36 in 2011 SEC play.

The SEC schedule begins on Aug. 30, when South Carolina plays at Vanderbilt. Alabama and LSU, which will meet for the national title on Jan. 9, face off again on Nov. 3.

Pat Dooley is a Gainesville Sun staff writer.

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