State Given 2012 SEC Dates

Mississippi State had already finalized the non-conference football schedule for 2012. Now, the SEC has finally provided the rest of the new Bulldog slate with official release of next fall's league schedules.

The most obvious change for the new year is the addition of Texas A&M to the permanent Mississippi State lineup. The Aggies, who formally join the SEC for 2012, are slotted in the Western Division as expected. And they will move into the portion of State's schedule that had been reserved the last ten years for the traditional stretch run, replacing Kentucky.

A&M will come to Starkville, for the first time ever, on November 3; while permanent Eastern Division foe Kentucky moves up most of a month in the schedule to early October. And, MSU will have to return to Lexington a second-straight year to keep the four-and-four SEC schedule.

Adding A&M has meant removing one other league date to stay at eight games, as the SEC had intended to do. So, the Bulldogs will not finish the home-and-home with South Carolina as would have been under the 2002-11 rotation just completed. However, Tennessee does come on for '12 as would have happened anyway; and State will go to Knoxville in '13. Or, probably will.

Because in the official announcement the SEC noted that this 2012 schedule is a one-year arrangement only. It is "not based on any other previous or future scheduling formats," the SEC said. League athletic directors had been working on the third of the ten-year rotations, a system began in 1992, which was to start a new cycle in '12 for years now. But conference expansion, and legal necessities delaying the inclusion of both A&M and most particularly now Missouri, have complicated all such long-term planning. So this one-year compromise scheduling is generally based on the original 1992 formula.

Also influencing scheduling choices, matchups, and dates was the necessity to accommodate the league's network partners who have an obvious desire to spread as many games around the full season as possible to fit all the broadcast slots.

In Mississippi State's case, nothing changed with the rotation of traditional West foes. The '12 Bulldogs will host Auburn and Arkansas as usual, while going to Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss. The noteworthy adjustments though is moving LSU from mid-September into mid-November, the sort of date veteran fans once were accustomed to. And after decades of playing Alabama in November, that cross-border rivalry is bumped up a few weeks. This is the first time MSU and Alabama have met in October since 1982.

MSU will play seven home games in '12, including three non-conference dates. The SEC only released league game schedules today. The separate schools will provide their own complete slates.

2012 MISSISSIPPI STATE SCHEDULE: Sept. 1 Jackson State; Sept. 8 Auburn; Sept. 15 at Troy; Sept. 22 South Alabama; Oct. 6 at Kentucky; Oct. 13 Tennessee; Oct. 20 Middle Tennessee State; Oct. 27 at Alabama; Nov. 3 Texas A&M; Nov. 10 at LSU; Nov. 17 Arkansas; Nov. 24 at Ole Miss.

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