Scheduling in sports always a challenge

Future scheduling in any sport is always quite a task. Ole Miss officials are continually busy trying to find opponents for the Rebels.

And it's one of the topics most fans are interested in. Who the Rebels will play, when, and where always makes for good conversation since fans want to know who they're paying to see.

Currently in football, the Rebels wrap up the home and home with the Big 12's Missouri Tigers. The Oxford game is the second contest of this season on Sept. 8.

The 2008 football schedule is all but complete. Memphis will come to Oxford, and Wake Forest will host the Rebels in Winston-Salem, N.C., as Ole Miss seeks revenge from the loss in Oxford last season. A so-far unnamed Division I-A foe along with a likely I-AA opponent, both Oxford games, will round out '08 non-SEC for the football Rebs.

For seasons down the road, talks continue with teams from the Big East, the Big 12, and Conference USA. The Big Ten is a little tougher to break into since they play nine conference games each year and have some longstanding annual non-conference games – like Indiana-Kentucky and Iowa-Iowa State.

Already announced for UM football are home and home series with ACC schools Georgia Tech (2010, 2011) and Clemson (2014, 2015).

There could be a real biggie or two in the works in the Rebels' football future over the next several seasons. But UMAA isn't showing its hand on those just yet, so we'll leave the speculation out there until we know more.

In basketball, both the Rebels and Lady Rebs are lining up some name games. Renee Ladner's first UM team will continue Carol Ross' policy of a tough non-conference slate.

The Lady Rebels open 2007-08 at Nebraska. Later in the season, North Carolina State comes to Oxford. The recent series with Rutgers is over, but a return trip this season to Penn State remains on the schedule. Ole Miss also plays at Miami (Fla.) after the Hurricanes came to Oxford last year.

On the men's side, the Rebels were all but done with their upcoming schedule until Memphis said it wasn't coming to Oxford this season. But it appears New Mexico is. The Lobos will come to Tad Smith Coliseum, and the Rebs will play in The Pit in Albuquerque next year.

As earlier reported, the Rebels will play a men's basketball game in Jackson in December – opponent not yet "officially" named. They'll also play Southern Mississippi in Southaven, and they'll play a return game at the University of New Orleans.

Also on the men's hoops schedule is a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to play in a tournament there, with a field that's supposed to include Clemson, DePaul, LaSalle, and Wyoming. The Rebels ended the 2006-07 season with an NIT loss at Clemson.

In baseball, the season starts in late February for all teams this season, so what that means is one less non-conference weekend before SEC play begins and more midweek games. In other words, there will likely be games on just about every Tuesday and Wednesday in future seasons, whereas the past few seasons there were a lot of weeks with just one game during the midweek.

It's made baseball scheduling more challenging, but the Rebels have again put together a nice slate of non-conference games. The three weekend series before SEC play begins are Minnesota of the Big Ten and Illinois-Chicago, both in Oxford, along with TCU in Ft. Worth. Not sure the order of those yet.

The Rebels played the Golden Gophers two games in Minneapolis this past season and split them. Only one was scheduled, but after The Citadel wasn't able to get there because of weather, the Rebs and Gophers met twice.

Illinois-Chicago played a three-game series in Oxford in 2006 with the Rebels winning two of three games.

UM men's golf is hosting a tournament in Madison next spring. We'll have more info on that event later, but 15 teams are scheduled to participate, including several SEC teams – LSU, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State among them - as well as possibly a few teams from other conferences, like the Big Ten.

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