The Southeastern Conference has finally taken the wraps off of the 2013 football schedule and you can find the full list of schedules — league games only, of course — right here.
And here are some rapidfire thoughts on everyone’s slate of games:
Alabama – The Tide will trade a road game at Missouri for a road game at Kentucky. Their traditional rivalry with Tennessee still stands. Bama will host three straight SEC games in a four week span from October to November: Arkansas, then Tennessee, then LSU. The Tide will also play host to Ole Miss for a second straight year.
Arkansas – No Missouri yet. Instead a visit from South Carolina. The Razorbacks have a four-week span of Texas A&M, at Florida, South Carolina and at Alabama all before October 19th. The Hogs’ new coach will get an early taste of life in the SEC. Arkansas will once again play LSU (in Baton Rouge) in their November 30th finale. The Hogs will trade Kentucky for Florida next year.
Auburn – The Tigers’ ancient rivalry with Georgia lives on… and the Dawgs will once again visit the Plains. It’s not a far trip, but still, get ready to hear UGA fans complain. AU will trade a road game at Vanderbilt for a road game to Tennessee.
Florida – The LSU/Florida TV favorite is alive and well. The Gators will travel to Baton Rouge next year. The Gators’ trip to Texas A&M this season will be replace with a home date versus Arkansas next year.
Georgia – As noted above, the Dawgs will have to head to Auburn in back-to-back seasons. This season UGA supposedly caught the scheduling breaks. The bill comes due next year as Georgia has to open with South Carolina and LSU to start their SEC schedule (though both games will be in Athens). LSU replaces Ole Miss who visits Athens later this season. Georgia’s final conference game next year will be against Kentucky on November 23rd as the Cats fall into place the week after UGA’s trip to Auburn.
Kentucky – Big Blue fans will be thrilled that their series — yawn — with Mississippi State survives. Neither school seems to care much about that rivalry. At least State won’t have to make a third straight trip to Lexington as they’ll host UK next year. The Wildcats didn’t get any favors as they’ll have to over SEC plays against Florida, South Carolina (on the road), and Alabama in consecutive weeks from September 28th through October 12th. The home date with Alabama replaces this season’s road trip to Arkansas.
LSU – Nope, the Florida game isn’t going away. And instead of South Carolina visiting Baton Rouge — as was the case this season — the Tigers will travel to Georgia for their other East Division battle in 2013. The Tigers’ late-season game with Ole Miss will move up the schedule to mid-October to make room for a November 23rd game with Texas A&M. The Tigers’ final three SEC games will be at Alabama and then at home versus Texas A&M and Arkansas.
Miss. State – Yes, MSU and Kentucky will meet again. Next year the rivalry will move back to Starkville. South Carolina replaces Tennessee on the Bulldogs schedule next year and that game will be on the road. The Bulldogs will face a November run of South Carolina (road), Texas A&M (road), Alabama (home) and Arkansas (road).
Missouri – The Tigers will open their second SEC season with back-to-back October — not September, but October — road games at Vandy and Georgia. Due to Mizzou’s SEC-free September, the Tigers will play eight SEC foes in a span of nine weeks next year. Ouch. They’ll once again face Texas A&M — no Arkansas game yet — but at least that game will be in Columbia after three straight contests in College Station. The Tigers trade a home date with Alabama in 2012 for a road game at Ole Miss in 2013.
Ole Miss – The Rebels get it worse than the Tigers as they’ll start their SEC season with three consecutive road games: at Vanderbilt (keeping that series alive), at Alabama and at Auburn. That trip to Bama will be the second in a row for Hugh Freeze’s team. On the flipside, the Rebels will host four straight SEC foes between October 12th and November 23rd: Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas, and Missouri. As noted just above, Missouri’s visit will replace UM’s trip to Georgia this season. Also, Texas A&M’s trip to Oxford will be its second in as many years.
South Carolina – The Georgia game moves back to the start of the SEC slate. (Steve Spurrier will be happy as several UGA starters are likely to be suspended). South Carolina won’t pick up Texas A&M yet, instead traveling to Arkansas. That game will be the first of three SEC road games in a row: at Arkansas, at Tennessee and at Missouri. The Gamecocks will trade LSU from this year’s schedule for a November home game with Mississippi State next year. USC will end its SEC season with a visit from Florida in mid-November.
Tennessee – The Vols’ schedule, like Alabama’s, stays pretty much in order. The rivalry with the Tide shifts back to Tuscaloosa and the Vols will replace a road date with Mississippi State with a November home visit from Auburn.
Texas A&M – As noted previously, Texas A&M will have to make another trip to Ole Miss in 2013. In exchange, they’ll be one of only three SEC squads to host three straight conference foes: Auburn, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State between October 19th and November 9th. The Aggies will close the season with road games at LSU and at Missouri.
Vanderbilt – Rather than hosting Auburn — as is the case in 2012 — the Commodores will travel to Texas A&M next season. Aside from that, it’s pretty standard stuff for the Dores. The Ole Miss rivalry — one of the South’s oldest — will live on for another year.
No permanent cross-division rivalries were killed this year as had been discussed.
Georgia at Auburn, Texas A&M at Ole Miss and Ole Miss at Alabama will all be repeat-venue games.
The SEC has also posted comments from associate commissioner Mark Womack right here.
Commissioner Mike Slive says that the 2013 schedule is another “bridge” schedule:
“As we began working on the 2013 football schedule, it became apparent that the conference would need another year of the ‘bridge’ schedule to make everything work. I appreciate the SEC transition team and our athletics directors, who came together to put this schedule in place. We look forward to starting with our new scheduling rotation in 2014.”
You can bet that the league’s negotiations with CBS and ESPN (regarding a new network in latter case) will play a role in what the 2014 slate and beyond will look like.