The Southeastern Conference released its 2012 football schedule. As expected, Missouri will host defending SEC Eastern Division champs Georgia Sept. 8 with a chance to prove themselves right off the bat. The other home games are Alabama, Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
Away from Faurot Field, Mizzou will travel to South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Texas A&M for the third year in a row.
September 8: Georgia
September 22: at South Carolina
October 6: Vanderbilt
October 13: Alabama
October 27: Kentucky
November 3: at Florida
November 10: at Tennessee
November 24: at Texas A&M
1. Non-conference schedule: Missouri’s non-conference schedule is now in jeopardy. Missouri will still host Arizona State Sept. 15, but had scheduled non-con games against Southern Illinois Sept. 8 and at Miami (OH) Sept 22 that are no longer on the schedule. Will Mizzou be able to move one of those games to Sept. 1? Look for a non-con opponent Nov. 17. It is unusual in the Big 12, but 10 of 12 SEC teams played November non-con games this year. It is a standard practice in the SEC. The Tigers have four open dates (Sept 1, Sept 29, Oct 20, Nov. 17) for three non-con opponents – two which could be Miami (OH) and Southern Illinois and one bye week.
2. In the first mock schedule I saw, Ole Miss was on the schedule and not Alabama, and I had been saying all year that the SEC East is much easier than a round robin Big 12 schedule because you only have to play Alabama, LSU and to a lesser extent Auburn and Arkansas, twice every 12 years, and only one at a time. That said, with Bama on the schedule, Mizzou’s SEC opponents had a .608 winning percentage this season, while their Big 12 opponents had a .602. Also Mizzou played more teams in the current BCS rankings (5) than they will face next year (3).
In other words, the schedule is not any easier, but I don’t consider it any harder.
3. Texas A&M on the road again? For the third year in a row, the Tigers will head to College Station. Three years in a row playing the same team on the road? That said, the other two worked out pretty well, and honestly, Mizzou is in much better shape heading into the SEC than the Aggies are.
4. On the 2012 Big 12 Schedule, Texas A&M was scheduled as Mizzou’s homecoming game. Homecoming will be the same date against Kentucky.
5. Expectations for 2012: I will continue to say Mizzou’s expectations should be contending for a East Division title. Is Florida a contender? If so, Mizzou has to play two of the three heavyweights in the East, South Carolina and Florida, on the road and gets Georgia at home. Some say Tennessee and Florida “will be back.” Why? There is no rule against a team staying down. And what about the weekly “physical” toll teams endure in the SEC? I think that will be a concern. But, I think Mizzou played more a physical style than they had ever played under Pinkel this year, and a lot of that has to do with their quarterback James Franklin. Yes, they still have a sideline to sideline running game when Josey is healthy, but his able to run between the tackles and defenders seem to never really be able to get a clean hit on him. Kendial Lawrence is more of a straight ahead runner and recruit Morgan Steward is a 220-pounder that is a different running back than Mizzou is used to and the Tigers have a big, physical, athletic offensive line. Franklin, is a big, tough, hard runner like Cam Newton and Tim Tebow. I am not by any means comparing him to those two, but he is a physical runner, like them, who can endure the hits. He played the second half of this season with a broken rib.
Prediction: 9-3 (5-3). 4-0 non-con, 3-1 at home, 2-2 on road in SEC.
SEC Digital Network: SEC releases 2012 football schedules