Conference schedule for 2012 appears positive for Georgia

semerson@macon.comDecember 29, 2011 

TAMPA, Fla. -- The catcalls and guffaws began as soon as the reports began streaming out. Then on Wednesday morning, when Georgia’s 2012 SEC schedule was unveiled, the criticism got louder.

There is little denying that Georgia caught a break in the changes that were made. The Bulldogs no longer will have to play Alabama, as originally scheduled, and will also still miss LSU and Arkansas, the other top teams from the SEC West.

When the SEC released the revisions, necessitated by expansion, it made Georgia the early favorite to win the East.

“We can’t help who we play; we don’t make the schedule,” said Jarvis Jones, Georgia’s sophomore All-America linebacker. “So we just go out there and any chance we get, we try to make the best of it.”

There were three main changes to Georgia’s original 2012 schedule:

Missouri, the conference’s newest member, which was placed in the SEC East, replaces Alabama on the schedule. Missouri will host Georgia on Sept. 8, in an SEC inaugural game for Missouri, which is likely to get a prime television spot.

The Georgia-South Carolina game, normally held the second weekend of the season, was shifted to Oct. 6. That was when Georgia was originally set to play at Alabama.

Finally, instead of having a bye prior to the Florida game Oct. 27, the Bulldogs will visit Kentucky, a game originally set for Oct. 13.

Otherwise Georgia’s schedule remained intact, including non-conference games against Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. The SEC chose not to interrupt a home-and-home with Mississippi, which will visit Athens in 2012. But Alabama, the nation’s No. 2 ranked team, will not start its home-and-home with Georgia until later.

Meanwhile, South Carolina’s non-division games are LSU (No. 1 this year) on the road and Arkansas (No. 7) at home. Florida’s are at Texas A&M (the SEC opener for the former Big 12 team) and LSU at home.

Missouri gets Alabama at home and finishes the conference schedule with three road games against South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas A&M.

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity, who took part in the meetings that determined the schedule, said the changes might not be as advantageous as perceived.

“I understand what people say. But I can assure you I don’t think there’s any athletic director in the conference that’s going to stay their schedule is not challenging,” McGarity said. “We don’t know what it’s like to go to Missouri and play. I’m sure with that being their first game in league play, I’m sure that’s an atmosphere that’s going to be crazy when they play. Just like it’s going to be crazy on College Station’s schedule when Florida plays there.”

Georgia’s conference opponents for 2012 had a combined record of 18-38 in the conference this season, and that doesn’t count Missouri, which was 5-4 in the Big 12. Those eight SEC opponents were 49-48 this season overall.

Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt, speaking at an Outback Bowl news conference, declined to comment on the 2012 schedule.

“I think the focus should be this game, and that’s what we really wanna be focused on,” he said. “I don’t wanna get too far down the road. Let’s finish up this season and then we’ll talk about those things in the future.”

McGarity and the SEC now have to look to the future ,as well. The schedule for 2013 and beyond is up in the air, and deciding on 2012’s slate may not have much effect on it.

The conference will try to keep some continuity in the existing schedule rotation, but that will be hard. McGarity said the conference could essentially start from scratch. It’s even possible Alabama won’t be on the schedule in 2013.

“I don’t know. I don’t know what we will be looking at or viewing at because there’s been so much focus on the 2012 schedule,” McGarity said.

Georgia 2012 schedule

Sept. 1: Buffalo

Sept. 8: at Missouri

Sept. 15: Florida Atlantic

Sept. 22: Vanderbilt

Sept. 29: Tennessee

Oct. 6: at South Carolina

Oct. 20: at Kentucky

Oct. 27: vs. Florida (Jacksonville)

Nov. 3: Mississippi

Nov. 10: at Auburn

Nov. 17: Georgia Southern

Nov. 24: Georgia Tech

SEC 2012 football schedules

ALABAMA

Sept. 1: vs Michigan in Arlington, Texas

Sept. 8: W. Kentucky

Sept. 15: at Arkansas

Sept. 22: Florida Atlantic

Sept. 29: Mississippi

Oct. 13: at Missouri

Oct. 20: at Tennessee

Oct. 27: Mississippi State

Nov. 3: at LSU

Nov. 10: Texas A&M

Nov. 17: W. Carolina

Nov. 24: Auburn

ARKANSAS

Sept. 1: Jacksonville St.

Sept. 8: Louisiana-Monroe

Sept. 15: Alabama

Sept. 22: tbd

Sept. 29: vs. Texas A&M

Oct. 6: at Auburn

Oct. 13: Kentucky

Oct. 20: tbd

Oct. 27: Mississippi

Nov. 3: Tulsa

Nov. 10: at South Carolina

Nov. 17: at Mississippi State

Nov. 24: LSU

AUBURN

Sept. 8: at Mississippi State

Sept. 22: LSU

Oct. 6: Arkansas

Oct. 13: at Mississippi

Oct. 20: at Vanderbilt

Oct. 27: Texas A&M

Nov. 10: Georgia

Nov. 24: at Alabama

non-conference: Clemson, ULM, New Mexico State, Alabama A&M, tbd

FLORIDA

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: South Carolina

Oct. 27: vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)

Nov. 3: Missouri

Nov. 10: La.-Lafayette

Nov. 17: Jacksonville St.

Nov. 24: at Florida St.

KENTUCKY

Sept. 1: at Louisville

Sept. 8: Kent St.

Sept. 15: W. Kentucky

Sept. 22: at Florida

Sept. 29: South Carolina

Oct. 6: Mississippi St.

Oct. 13: at Arkansas

Oct. 20: Georgia

Oct. 27: at Missouri

Nov. 3: Vanderbilt

Nov. 17: Samford

Nov. 24: at Tennessee

LSU

Sept. 1: North Texas

Sept. 8: Washington

Sept. 15: Idaho

Sept. 22: at Auburn

Sept. 29: Towson

Oct. 6: at Florida

Oct. 13: South Carolina

Oct. 20: at Texas A&M

Nov. 3: Alabama

Nov. 10: Mississippi St.

Nov. 17: Mississippi

Nov. 24: at Arkansas

MISSISSIPPI

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

MISSISSIPPI STATE

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

MISSOURI

Sept. 1: open date or non-conference opponent

Sept. 8: Georgia

Sept. 15: Arizona St.

Sept. 22: at South Carolina

Sept. 29: open date or non-conference opponent

Oct. 6: Vanderbilt

Oct. 13: Alabama

Oct. 20: open date or non-conference opponent

Oct. 27: Kentucky

Nov. 3: at Florida

Nov. 10: at Tennessee

Nov. 17: open date or non-conference opponent

Nov. 24: at Texas A&M

SOUTH CAROLINA

Aug. 30: at Vanderbilt

Sept. 8: East Carolina

Sept. 15: UAB

Sept. 22: Missouri

Sept. 29: at Kentucky

Oct. 6: Georgia

Oct. 13: at LSU

Oct. 20: at Florida

Oct. 27: Tennessee

Nov. 10: Arkansas

Nov. 17: Wofford

Nov. 24: Clemson

TENNESSEE

Sept. 1: N.C. State in Atlanta

Sept. 8: Georgia St.

Sept. 15: Florida

Sept. 22: Akron

Sept. 29: at Georgia

Oct. 13: at Mississippi State

Oct. 20: Alabama

Oct. 27: at South Carolina

Nov. 3: Troy

Nov. 10: Missouri

Nov. 17: at Vanderbilt

Nov. 24: Kentucky

TEXAS A&M

Sept. 1: McNeese St.

Sept. 8: Florida

Sept. 15: SMU in Dallas

Sept. 22: open date or non-conference opponent

Sept. 29: vs. Arkansas

Oct. 6: at Mississippi

Oct. 13: open date or non-conference opponent

Oct. 20: LSU

Oct. 27: at Auburn

Nov. 3: at Mississippi State

Nov. 10: at Alabama

Nov. 17: open date or non-conference opponent

Nov. 24: Missouri

VANDERBILT

Aug. 30: South Carolina

Sept. 8: at Northwestern

Sept. 15: Presbyterian

Sept. 22: at Georgia

Oct. 6: at Missouri

Oct. 13: Florida

Oct. 20: Auburn

Oct. 27: UMass

Nov. 3: at Kentucky

Nov. 10: Mississippi

Nov. 17: Tennessee

Nov. 24: at Wake Forest

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