Sept 1: vs. Jackson State
Sept 8: vs. Auburn
Sept 15: at Troy
Sept 22: vs. South Alabama
Sept 29: Bye
Oct 6: at Kentucky
Oct 13: vs. Tennessee
Oct 20: vs. Middle Tennessee State
Oct 27: at Alabama
Nov 3: vs. Texas A&M
Nov 10: at LSU
Nov 17: vs. Arkansas
Nov 24: at Ole Miss
As we sit right now, this is a much more manageable schedule than the one State played in 2011. 7-0 going into the Alabama game on October 27th is a real possibility. The main reason: the top two teams from the East, Georgia and South Carolina, drop off the schedule. Those two were 20-5 this year combined, 13-4 in the SEC. Georgia is expected to be a Top 5 team in 2012, and South Carolina is expected to have another solid year.
Tennessee should be better next year. They experienced some key injuries this season, and were still very young. It will be a make or break season for Derek Dooley as he will be on the hot seat all year. MSU has lost six straight to the Vols, last beating them in Payton Manning’s freshman season of 1994.
Texas A&M has a new head coach, Kevin Sumlin, and a lot of optimism joining the SEC and what is likely to be a Top 5 recruiting class. They lose their QB, RB, and second best WR, but return everyone else on offense. On defense, they return six starters including all four linebackers from the 3-4 they ran in 2011.
We all know about Auburn, LSU, Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Ole Miss. Troy and MTSU were the only non-conference opponents to play in the FBS this year, they were 3-9 and 2-10 respectively.
This past June the 2012 schedule was looking like this:
vs. Jackson State
vs. Louisiana Tech
vs. South Alabama
at South Carolina
at Ole Miss
But, in late June it was confirmed that LA Tech paid MSU $300,000 to get out of this game (which would have been the final game in a 2 for 1 – ’08 at LA Tech, ’11 at MSU, ’12 at MSU). So Scott Stricklin searched for six months until he found Middle Tennessee State, who will receive $900,000 for a one time appearance at Davis-Wade.
In September and October Texas A&M and Missouri joined the SEC respectively. A&M goes to the West and Missouri to the East. That meant dropping a cross-divisional game in order to keep an 8-game conference schedule. So, MSU dropped a road trip to South Carolina in favor of a home game with A&M…and the Dawgs will visit Kentucky for the second year in a row.
Don’t expect the 2013 schedule to continue along the path of this one though. For one, the SEC could add more teams to reach 16. Also, there were a lot of variables in making this schedule and the SEC stated this is for 2012 only, and it’s back to the drawing board for future years.