Blog Entry

2012 SEC schedule team-by-team breakdown

Posted on: December 28, 2011 4:03 pm

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

At long last, the SEC finally unveiled its 2012 football schedule Wednesday--its first with  Texas A&M and Missouri as its 13th and 14th members, and the matter of intense speculation and rumor ever since the Aggies and Tigers joined this past fall. Though the schedule isn't yet an indicator of how things will look in 2013 and beyond (Mike Slive pointedly said recently the 2012 edition is a one-year stopgap before a permanent divisional rotation is established the following season), that doesn't mean there's not plenty to parse and analyze where 2012 is concerned. Here's a team-by-team look at what each SEC program is happy about regarding the schedule, and what they're not so glad about:


Likes that: its East divisional draw doesn't feature either South Carolina or Georgia. A road trip to Missouri could be tricky, but given the way the Gamecocks whomped the Tide the last time the two teams met and how the Bulldogs have finished this season, Alabama's not going to complain about getting a first historic visit to Columbia under their belts. And of course, their permanent cross-divisional rivalry with Tennessee isn't anything to fear at this stage. Getting Auburn at home is always a plus.

Doesn't like that: what shapes up as the two biggest SEC games on its schedule, LSU and Arkansas, both come on the road. If the Tide are going to earn the critical head-to-head tiebreaker over either of their West rivals, they're going to have to do it the hard way.


Likes that: both Alabama and LSU have to visit Fayetteville, where the Hogs have been particularly feisty against the Tigers. And taking on the Tide early (Sept. 15, the first SEC game of the season for both) could work to Arkansas's advantage as Nick Saban retools his much, much younger defense. Any West team that gets "home vs. Kentucky" as one of their East games has to be pleased with their good fortune there, too.

Doesn't like that: its annual game with South Carolina is on the road, we guess. But the way the Hogs have routed the Gamecocks the past few seasons, they probably don't care too much where they play them, and that still might be their only complaint; the West is still the West, but this was as kind a schedule as it was possible to draw up for the Hogs. 


Likes that: three of its four road games are visits to Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. The fourth is to Bryant-Denny, but after this year's murderous road slate, the Tigers will take what they can get--and three road games as a potential favorite is an awfully nice thing for any West team to get. As solid as Vandy looks to be in Year 2 of the James Franklin reclamation project, too, it's doubtful the Tigers will mind the Gamecocks and Gators rotating off the schedule and the Commodores rotating on.

Doesn't like that: the Alabama game is on the road, or that they have to deal with the general pain of having the East's current best team as an annual rival. But this schedule shapes up much more like the Tigers' palatable 2010 slate than their 2011 one.


Likes that: if the Gators actually haul themselves up into a position to contend for the East title, they'll get potential co-challengers South Carolina and Missouri in Gainesville. And it's an even year, which means four home games and three true road games to go with the neutral-site Cocktail Party.

Doesn't like that: they get the "honor" of being the first SEC team to visit Kyle Field for a conference game; think the Aggie faithful will be a little fired up for that one? Having LSU as an annual rival hurts there days, and even getting them at home doesn't help since the Gators would likely prefer to have a more beatable opponent in that slot. Tough to get a rougher West draw than that.


Likes that: for the second straight season, there's still no LSU, Alabama, or Arkansas on the schedule. Instead, the Bulldogs get Ole Miss at home--the single easiest West game it was possible for them to pull. In terms of raw 2011 win-loss, the Bulldogs have the easiest set of opponents in the league.

Doesn't like that: if the East comes down to one game against either South Carolina, Florida, or Missouri, all three are away from Athens; with Auburn on the road, too, it's arguable that not one of the Dawgs' four toughest opponents will come to Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs can't complain too loudly (if at all) given the teams they're facing out of the West, but this is still a much tougher road to hoe than they faced in 2011.


Likes that: they get annual cross-division opponent Mississippi State at home; given the other options out of the West, that's not so bad. Their traditional most winnable SEC game -- Vanderbilt -- comes at home in 2012, too.

Doesn't like that: their other West game is a trip to Arkansas, two precious home games are "wasted" on the potentially out-of-reach Bulldogs and Gamecocks, or that they have to travel to Knoxville when the Vols are as vulnerable as they've ever been. (Though given the choice, they'd have surely taken them at home in 2011 rather than '12.) When you're Kentucky, it's hard to put together a schedule that doesn't immediately seem like an impossible hill to climb.


Likes that: Alabama has to return to Baton Rouge for a guaranteed night game that could -- again -- decide the SEC West. Though the Tigers would maybe rather have their dates with the Mississippi schools on the road (since they'd likely beat them anywhere), getting the Bulldogs and Rebels for back-to-back November home games should provide a nice lead-in to the critical season-ending roadie at Arkansas.

Doesn't like that: aside from the Alabama game, the SEC did the defending champs no favors. Gators/Gamecocks is almost as touch a draw from the East as you can get; the Tigers have to start their SEC season with a pair of challenging roadies at Auburn and Florida; and the long-awaited renewal of their hot-blooded rivalry with Texas A&M will begin in College Station rather than the friendly confiens of Death Valley. All together, no SEC contender will face a more difficult quartet of road games than the Tigers will.


Likes that: the winnable games are at home. Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, and Auburn shape up as arguably the four most vulnerable opponents on the rebels' 2012 slate, and all four come to Oxford. If the Rebels go winless in conference for a second straight season, they can't say the schedule didn't give them a reasonable opportunity.

Doesn't like that: the road slate is just this side of completely impossible: at Alabama, at Arkansas, at Georgia, at LSU. Toughest set of road games for one team in SEC history? It's in play. And for a team as currently woebegone as the Rebels are, drawing Kentucky or Tennessee instead of Georgia out of the East would have been very, very welcome.


Likes that: their date with Kentucky is in Lexington but their dates with Alabama and LSU in Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge, respectively; the Bulldogs should beat the former anyway, while traveling to the latter saves their home games for more beat-able Auburn, Texas A&M, and Tennessee. And speaking of the Vols--could MSU have drawn anything better out of the East than at the Wildcats and home vs. Tennessee? No, no they could not have.

Doesn't like that: the all-important Egg Bowl is at Ole Miss. But other than that, this is about as pleasant a schedule as State could expect.


Likes that: they host Georgia in their SEC debut, giving them a chance to take control of the East race (in front of what should be one of their season's best crowds) right off the bat. That three-week home stand in the middle of the season -- one that includes both Vanderbilt and Kentucky -- could be a springboard to bigger things down the road. And even if the middle game of that stretch is Alabama, a potentially unfortunate pull from the West in terms of the win column, might as well start off your SEC tenure with a bang, right?

Doesn't like that: games against potential East rivals South Carolina and Florida both come on the road.


Likes that: they get Georgia and Missouri at home and could use that advantage to earn a key head-to-head tiebreaker. That's about it.

Doesn't like that: they're still stuck with Arkansas as their annual West game and add a road date with none other than LSU; no one in the East faces a tougher pair of cross-divisional games. Coming only one season after the Gamecocks' West draw arguably kept them out of Atlanta singlehandedly -- they traveled to face Arkansas (and lost) while Georgia went to Oxford to crush the hapless Rebels -- that's a tough, tough pill to swallow. Going to Gainesville is adding insult to injury.


Likes that: Kentucky comes to Neyland for the best possible shot at starting a new streak over the Wildcats, and as potential West opponents go, the Vols could be facing one more difficult than Mississippi State (even on the road). Hosting Florida to kick off the SEC season could give Derek Dooley's under-fire tenure a quick jumpstart, and hey, get this--the Third Saturday in October is actually scheduled for the third Saturday in October.

Doesn't like that: road games at Georgia and South Carolina should pretty much end any hope of a dark horse SEC East run before it starts. And not that anyone in Knoxville wants to drop the Tide, but that series pretty much guarantees the Vols will have a rougher West draw than a team like, say, oh, Georgia.


Likes that: they get one of the league's glamour teams for their SEC debut, hosting Florida on Sept. 8; adding the Gators and old rivals LSU to the home slate will make season tickets at Kyle Field as hot as they've been in years. Traveling to the Mississippi schools isn't nearly as daunting as traveling to some other SEC locations.

Doesn't like that: they get a looming three-game road stretch between October and November that features visits to both Auburn and Alabama. If their date with Arkansas stays in Dallas for one more season -- the Aggies want to move it to College Station and it's all-but-certain to become a home-and-home in 2013 -- they'd have just three SEC home games total, a la Georgia.


Likes that: they can immediately announce themselves as serious SEC East players with a home date against the Gamecocks, one that will open the entire 2012 SEC season on Aug. 30. Their annual cross-division rivalry with Ole Miss has never looked better, and their other West opponent -- Auburn -- must come to Nashville.

Doesn't like that: in the event of a loss to South Carolina, consecutive road trips to Georgia and Missouri could take the wind completely out of the Commodores' sails by the first week of October. 

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Since: Jan 30, 2012
Posted on: January 30, 2012 8:36 pm

2012 SEC schedule team-by-team breakdown

In reference to Alabama's "first historic visit to Columbia" to take on the Missouri Tigers .. sorry .. that has already happened .. Bama defeated the Tigers 38-20 in Columbia in 1978. 

Since: Jul 29, 2011
Posted on: January 27, 2012 9:55 am

2012 SEC schedule team-by-team breakdown

I believe Missouri in the East is just temporary until the conference decides to expand to 16, possibly picking up clemson, va tech, or fsu

Since: Dec 2, 2006
Posted on: January 7, 2012 5:43 pm

2012 SEC schedule team-by-team breakdown

Lets see any SEC team play the 4 game set Michigan State did and come out undefeated.
Dude, you are so obvious a dumbass big 10 homer it's silly.

LSU played and beat three top 10, and five top 25, teams to get to the NC game. They played in the SEC, which is one of, if not the toughest, conference there is for NCAA football -- and they show this by their bowl results year after year -- I can't recall the last time they went worse than 50-50 in their bowl games, and are usually the #1 or #2 team among the conferences -- this despite the fact that they are generally distorted in their matchups by the SEC's #1 team being in the NC game.

This year the SEC is 5 for 7 in bowl games, and your team, nominally #2 in the Big 'Lebenty-Seven (I know how to count, unlike your conference commissioners), just eked out a 3-point win off a field goal in triple overtime after UGA blew not one but two FGs. That's not to minimize your win -- you DID win, and it was a good game... but you were playing the SEC team that was only "#2" due to conference vagaries. They were ranked only #18 (AP) #18 (Coaches) and #16 (BCS) -- note that they WEREN'T "top 15" on any poll that mattered:

By the rankings they are the SEC's NUMBER FIVE team -- LSU #1, AU #2, Ark #7, USC #10. And you just BARELY managed to win.

They purposely pad the schedule so the better teams play the weakest teams and rack up easy wins
No, we have a set rotational system that runs years in advance. If we hadn't picked up two new teams, I could tell you which SEC teams UF would play 10 years from now.

And the fact that a different SEC team winds up winning it all just about every year (UF, LSU, Auburn, Alabama) says how evenly matched they are over time, and how there IS no such thing as a "weak" SEC team. The two most obvious examples of that currently are Vandy, UK, MSU, and Ole' Miss. While these teams don't regularly make bowls, they often win when they do. They're "weak", but that's a relative term. They're weak by SEC standards. Our worst team in the bowls -- Vandy(at 6-6) lost this year to Cinci (9-3, and one of the top 3 teams in the Big Least) by a single touchdown off a kick return in the final quarter. So we have two losses by a total of 10 points when we pit our weakest team vs. the Big Least #2 or so, and when we pit our #5 against your precious Big 'Lebenty-Seven #2.

That's weak teams, all right.

Lets see any SEC team play the 4 game set Michigan State did and come out undefeated.  Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska all in a row.  NO SEC team comes out undefeated.
Tell me, are you just naturally mentally deficient, or did you attempt self-trepanning one or more times in your life? Were power tools involved, if the latter?

The Gators SUCK this year, and they beat your precious OSU. Oregon beat the crap out of Wisconsin, and LSU beat the crap out of Oregon (limited value, granted, but indicative). Michigan just barely beat VTech in OT, a team that Clemson beat the crap out of, TWICE. And Clemson lost to South Carolina 34-13. And Nebraska? South Carolina 30, Nebraska 13 And South Carolina is the SEC's FOURTH best team this year.

A full third of the SEC teams would OWN the Big 'Lebenty-Seven. For years. Just like FSU used to own the ACC.

Now sit down and be quiet, or I shall taunt you a second time.

Since: Dec 2, 2006
Posted on: January 7, 2012 4:57 pm

2012 SEC schedule team-by-team breakdown

I've got to say that putting Missouri into the "East" has got to be one of the more retarded decisions I've ever seen. It would make far more sense to put them in the West and move a team like Auburn into the East. I'm assuming they'll reduce the year-by-year choices to one, which means auburn could still play bama in their regular "other half" matchup, and UF could renew its yearly play with Auburn (one of the longer SEC rivalries), something the binary segmentation ended.

'Bama, Ole Miss or MSU would be alternatives to AU, but Missouri is about as far away from the "center" of the SEC East as any team is.

Since: Jan 4, 2012
Posted on: January 4, 2012 8:30 am

2012 SEC schedule team-by-team breakdown

I understand gator fan. I'm a coonass living in San Antonio and trying to get a ticket to see LSU against Texas A&M.

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: December 31, 2011 5:27 pm

2012 SEC schedule team-by-team breakdown

I hear a lot of sour grapes, especially from Tennessee fans regarding Georgia's schedule.  Guess what losers.  Georgia had nothing to do with making up their conference schedule.  The SEC did all of that.  So stop your whining and crying.  Jus because Tennessee stands to finish near the bottom of the SEC East for the next few years because of your terrible head coach does not mean that you can start ripping other teams or their fans.  When you can beat teams like Kentucky, then talk to us.  Until then, take your place in the lower echelon of the SEC.  When wins against Montana and Buffalo make up 40% of your wins in one season, maybe you guys should transfer to the Big East.

Since: Apr 5, 2010
Posted on: December 29, 2011 7:10 pm

2012 SEC schedule team-by-team breakdown

This is one happy Gator fan living in Austin. Now trying to get a ticket for Sept. 8 will be fun.

Since: Nov 20, 2011
Posted on: December 29, 2011 1:14 pm

2012 SEC schedule team-by-team breakdown

I am happy to see Missouri and Texas A&M in the SEC. Both are great schools with great academics and sports teams. Both have a great following of fans. These are two teams that will fit well into the SEC which is very picky about who they let in. I think it is an upgrade both ways. For the SEC to get them upgrades the SEC and I think the SEC upgrades the two schools allowing them to better recruit by offering players the opportunity to play in the SEC. Anybody who does not think these two schools will be competitive is wrong. Both have good programs and will win some games. They will not compete with Georgia, Alabama or LSU right off the bat but not many schools in the country will do that. The rest of the conference they will win their share. I think this schedule giving Mizzou home with Georgia and A&M home with Florida is a great schedule move to open the season with top tier SEC schools showcasing the new schools on national TV. I will be excited to watch it!

Since: Oct 6, 2009
Posted on: December 29, 2011 11:17 am

2012 SEC schedule team-by-team breakdown

Missouri would have most likely had a better record playing in the SEC this year and again next year. It is at worst a lateral competitive move and much better financially for Missouri. The top of the SEC is always the best and wins the national title in recent years, but overall the Big 12 was much stronger according to Sagarin ratings. The Big 12 had 7 top 25 teams compared to 4 in the SEC. The 'mean' conference power rating for the Big 12 was 84.28 compared to the SEC's 79.64. 'mean' is the power rating at which half the teams in the conference are above and half below and is the best gauge of overall strength. Missouri had to play 5 teams from the Big 12 this year who had a power rating above theirs. There were 4 teams from the SEC rated above Missouri and they would have played only 3 due to division scheduling. At the low end, there were 2 Big 12 teams below a 75.0 rating and 4 in the SEC. Kansas had the lowest rating in the Big 12 at 64,51 and Mississippi had a 60.92. Missouri and Texas AM will probably fare better in the SEC than they did in the Big 12.

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: December 29, 2011 11:04 am

2012 SEC schedule team-by-team breakdown

ohh the UGA NC talks already begin, haven't heard that one before easiest schedule there is and ever will be in the SEC

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