The SEC released its first 14-team schedule Wednesday, with new members Missouri and Texas A&M as part of the conference.
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.
Teams will still play eight conference games, with six against divisional foes and two against the other division. 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 together 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 athletic 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.
Missouri visits South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Texas A&M, and hosts Vanderbilt, Alabama on Oct. 13 and Kentucky.
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.
LSU will visit Auburn on Sept. 22 to kick off its SEC schedule before visiting Florida.
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.