By The Associated Press
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Southeastern Conference has unveiled its 2012 football schedule with its two newest members Missouri and Texas A&M opening play Sept. 8, and Alabama will visit LSU in a rematch of the Bowl Championship Series national championship Nov. 3.
Missouri will play the 2012 season in the SEC East and hosts Georgia on Sept. 8. Texas A&M will be in the West and hosts Florida. The first conference game will be Aug. 30 when South Carolina visits Vanderbilt.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive praised the league’s transition team and athletic directors for handling what he called “significant logistical challenges” in putting together the schedule released Wednesday.
The 2012 SEC schedule follows divisional play of eight games with six inside the division and two outside. The SEC championship game will be Dec. 1 in Atlanta.
Athletic directors will meet in the spring to decide the formula for future schedules.
David Williams, Vanderbilt’s vice chancellor in charge of athletics, said adding Texas A&M and Missouri made it challenging to put this together consistent with the league’s desire to keep an eight-game conference schedule.
“Fans should keep in mind that this league schedule is only for the 2012 season …,” Williams said in a statement.
There remain plenty of kinks to work out for 2012, though.
Texas A&M is under a 10-year contract to play Arkansas in Dallas, and Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino said recently the Aggies want a home-and-home series now that both teams are in the SEC. Texas A&M will be the home team for the Sept. 29 game for which the site has yet to be decided. It will be the first league game between these teams since 1991 when both were in the Southwest Conference.
Arkansas released an 11-game schedule with the Razorbacks busy trying to line up a final non-conference opponent. Texas A&M’s current schedule has 10 opponents listed. Missouri has three non-conference games to be decided, while Auburn has its non-conference opponents lined up, including Clemson in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic with dates yet to be set.
“Unfortunately, there are still several issues to be resolved in our 2012 football schedule, but we wanted to get as much information to our fans as possible so they may begin planning for next season,” Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long said in a statement. “We are pleased to have at least seven home games and possibly eight as part of a very competitive 2012 football schedule.”
Texas A&M’s entry into the SEC will be challenging. The Aggies not only kick off the SEC season against Florida, they still play Arkansas while hosting LSU and Missouri and visit Auburn, Mississippi State and Alabama on Nov. 10.
The Missouri Tigers visit South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Texas A&M, though they host Vanderbilt, Alabama on Oct. 13 and Kentucky.
LSU will visit Auburn on Sept. 22 to kick off its SEC schedule before visiting Florida. LSU also must visit Arkansas on Nov. 24 in the final week of the SEC season.
Alabama not only hits the SEC road to visit LSU but opens conference play at Arkansas on Sept. 15. Alabama visits Missouri and Tennessee in addition to LSU.
Georgia, the SEC East champ, didn’t play either LSU or Alabama in 2011, and the new SEC schedule has the Bulldogs missing both of the BCS teams in 2012. The Bulldogs play Mississippi and Auburn out of the West.
Sept. 1: Jackson St.
Sept. 8: Auburn
Sept. 15: at Troy
Sept. 22: South Alabama
Oct. 6: at Kentucky
Oct. 13: Tennessee
Oct. 20: Middle Tennessee
Oct. 27: at Alabama
Nov. 3: Texas A&M
Nov. 10: at LSU
Nov. 17: Arkansas
Nov. 24: at Mississippi
Ole Miss Schedule
Sept. 1: Central Arkansas
Sept. 8: UTEP
Sept. 15: Texas
Sept. 22: at Tulane
Sept. 29: at Alabama
Oct. 6: Texas A&M
Oct. 13: Auburn
Oct. 27: at Arkansas
Nov. 3: at Georgia
Nov. 10: Vanderbilt
Nov. 17: at LSU
Nov. 24: Mississippi State