ATHENS - The SEC finally released the 2013 football schedule on Thursday afternoon, and it contained a few big developments for Georgia.
Most notably, LSU will visit Georgia on Sept. 28. The identity of Georgia's eighth SEC opponent for next year was the biggest mystery for the Bulldogs' schedule, as they knew they would play six division games and the annual Georgia-Auburn game would be preserved.
LSU is currently quarterbacked by Zach Mettenberger, a junior who was dismissed from Georgia after spring practice in 2010. Mettenberger is in his first year as LSU's starter, and his mother still works in the Georgia football team offices.
The other big news for Georgia was that it will have to visit Auburn for a second straight year. The Bulldogs will visit the Plains on Nov. 16, 2013. The move was made to accommodate numerous other scheduling snags across the SEC.
"The 2013 schedule will obviously be very challenging, Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said in a statement. Our number one priority throughout this process was to protect our long-standing rivalry game against Auburn, and in order to keep this series intact, it necessitated a return to Auburn in 2013. We will start working on the 2014 rotating SEC schedule this Spring, and we can confirm that Auburn will be returning to Athens in 2014."
Two other games will have "repeat hosts", as the SEC put it: Ole Miss at Alabama and Texas A&M at Ole Miss.
"There were so many variables in dealing with conference games, and the three repeat venue games, while not desired, provided the only solution to the complex scheduling issues, SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement.
There was one other piece of news for Georgia: The annual game with South Carolina returned to early in the season: The Gamecocks will visit Athens on Sept. 7.
The game has traditionally been the first or second weekend in September. But it was moved to October this year to accommodate Georgia's game at Missouri, as part of inaugurating Missouri as an SEC member.
Georgia's official schedule for 2013, now including those SEC games:
Aug. 30: at Clemson
Sept. 7: South Carolina
Sept. 14: Bye
Sept. 21: North Texas
Sept. 28: LSU
Oct. 5: at Tennessee
Oct. 12: Missouri
Oct. 19: at Vanderbilt
Oct. 26: Bye
Nov. 2: vs. Florida (Jacksonville)
Nov. 9: Appalachian State
Nov. 16: at Auburn
Nov. 23: Kentucky
Nov. 30: at Georgia Tech
In a release, the SEC said this 2013 schedule is considered a "bridge" and "not based on any other previous or future scheduling formats." The SEC athletics directors will meet next spring to begin hashing out schedules for 2014 and beyond.
That's a big step back from last summer, when it was stated often that the conference would map out schedules for the next 12 years.
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, Slive said. 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.
That will revive talk of a nine-game schedule, especially after Vanderbilt announced Thursday that it had canceled games in 2013 and 2014 with Northwestern and Ohio State.
McGarity said, in response to an inquiry, that Georgia has not changed any non-conference plans for 2014 or beyond.