This and that about football in the SEC
April 7, 2002
Both Mississippi State and Ole Miss played their "spring" football games on Saturday.
This Saturday Southern Mississippi and Alabama will have their annual intersquad scrimmages.
Some thing these yearly battles between the red and white or red and blue or maroon and while and black and gold or whatever your favorite school's colors happen to be, are pretty much useless. Others think they are critical.
While whatever you think of spring football it is a sure sign of one thing, fall football is not far behind.
I received my copy of the Southeastern Conference Spring Football Preview in the mail just last week and feel compelled to share a little information with the loyal readers of this newspaper.
The first obvious glaring difference between this year's football schedules for the 12 SEC schools is that each of them are taking advantage of the opportunity to play a dozen regular season games this season.
All but one of the schools, Arkansas, is opening its season on the opening weekend of action.
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt are all all beginning the season on Saturday, Aug. 31, while Kentucky and LSU are opening their seasons on the following day and Auburn opens on a Monday.
All 12 of the league's teams will have at least five opponents on their schedules that participated in bowl last year.
Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt face seven bowl teams, while Alabama, LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee take on six and Arkansas faces five.
Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama all play non-conference teams who made it to bowls last season.
MSU opens the season at the University of Oregon on Aug. 31, Ole Miss visits Texas Tech on Set. 14 and Alabama travels to the University of Oklahoma on Sept. 7.
Of the three SEC schools in The Meridian Star coverage area, only one plays USM, that being Alabama on Sept. 21 in Tuscaloosa.
There are just three weeks that have key SEC games for all three of the area teams. They are Oct. 5, Nov. 9 and Nov. 23.
On Oct. 5, Alabama hosts Georgia, Ole Miss hosts Florida and Mississippi State is at South Carolina.
On Nov. 9 Ole Miss is at Georgia, while State is at Alabama and on Nov. 23, Auburn visits Alabama, Ole Miss is at LSU and State hosts Arkansas.
The SEC has seven bowl tie-ins this season when you include the Bowl championship Series.
There is something very interesting about the six bowls, excluding the BCS. Which conference do you think the SEC is matched up with against?
The ACC? Nope.
The Big 12? Nope.
The answer is The Big 10, which quite frankly seems like an unnatural rivalry.
SEC teams will play Big 10 teams in the Music City Bowl, the Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl and the Outback bowl. Southeastern Conference schools will take on the Big 12 in the Mainstay Independence Bowl and the SBC Cotton Bowl and the ACC in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
For Ole Miss, MSU and Alabama fans let me clarify how the SEC schedules are made up each year.
Each of the schools play their five division foes each season Q MSU, LSU, Auburn, Arkansas, Alabama and Ole Miss are in the SEC West Division.
Each school has one permanent non-division foe. For Ole Miss that is Vanderbilt, MSU has Kentucky and Alabama has Tennessee. Quite frankly, it looks like Alabama has the bad end of that deal. The very bad end.
Then the there are two rotating teams for each school from the other division. And you don't play both rotating teams two years in a row.
For example State is at South Carolina and hosts Tennessee in 2002 and 2007, while visiting Tennessee and hosting Vanderbilt in 2003 and 2008. The Bulldogs are at Vandy and host Florida in 2004 and 2009, while visiting Florida and hosting Georgia in 2005 and 2010. In 2006 and 2011 the Bulldogs will be at Georgia and host South Carolina.
Ole Miss is at Georgia and hosts Florida in 2002 and 2007 while visiting Florida and hosting South Carolina in 2003 and 2008.
Alabama is at Vandy and hosts Georgia in 2002 and 2007, while visiting Georgia and hosting Kentucky in 2003 and 2008.