The SEC has announced the 2013 regular season conference schedule. It has not, however, announced what the rotation will be for the future:
The 2013 schedule is considered a "bridge" schedule and not based on any other previous or future scheduling formats. The SEC Athletics Directors will convene in Spring 2013 to begin formulating schedules for the 2014 season and beyond.
So this schedule does not indicate anything about what the actual 14-team rotation will be, just like the 2012 schedule did not. Feel free to fire up your conspiracy theory message board threads about the league expanding to 16 teams or going to a nine-game conference schedule at your earliest convenience.
The designated rivalries have not changed in any way, although they will in 2014. In the future, South Carolina trades Arkansas for Texas A&M in order to create a border rivalry between the Razorbacks and Missouri. There had been some speculation about the Florida-LSU rivalry being split up due to complaints about it from Les Miles and Joe Alleva, but they're going to square off on October 12 in Baton Rouge. Whether they get broken up for good will apparently wait until next year's release.
Here are the "rotation" games, meaning the cross-division games that aren't the rivalries:
Alabama at Kentucky
Arkansas at Florida
Auburn at Tennessee
LSU at Georgia
Missouri at Ole Miss
Mississippi State at South Carolina
Vanderbilt at Texas A&M
In another quirk, three repeating games from this year will have the same host next year as in this fall. Press release, take it away:
In order to maintain a balanced schedule for the 2014 season and beyond, there are three games that will have repeat hosts from the 2012 schedule. Those games are Ole Miss at Alabama, Texas A&M at Ole Miss and Georgia at Auburn.
"There were so many variables in dealing with conference games, and the three repeat venue games, while not desired, provided the only solution to the complex scheduling issues," said Slive.
The 2013 season is one of those that happens every so often where there are 15 regular season weeks instead of the usual 14, so everyone will get two bye weeks.
A few quick hits on the rest of the schedule:
- The biggest complaint from the 2012 schedule, that Georgia missed one of the West's top teams two years in a row, has been rectified. The Bulldogs host LSU on September 28.
- The UGA-South Carolina game has also been put back to its normal spot in Week 2.
- Florida-Tennessee will not be in Week 3 as usual, but in Week 4 instead. The timing will allow the Gators to take one of those bye weeks between the 9/7 game at Miami and the 9/28 game versus the Vols. Tennessee, meanwhile, will to go to Oregon on 9/14.
- Tennessee's road slate is just brutal. The Vols must go to Oregon and Florida in back-to-back weeks, plus Alabama in October. They also have to go to Missouri, which figures to improve. Only Kentucky looks like a sure road win.
- Both Alabama and LSU will get a bye week prior to their November 9 game. LSU will also take a bye the week after.
- Right now, both Alabama and LSU have bye weeks before playing Texas A&M. Ouch, Aggies. The one hope is that Bama is still short a non-conference game and might put one on September 7 before going to College Station on the 14th. It'll probably be a cupcake, though, so it doesn't matter much.
- Arkansas has a Big Ten-like schedule, with all four of its non-conference games coming first followed by all eight SEC games.
- Missouri has the latest SEC schedule start with October 5. Florida and South Carolina are tied for the earliest end, as both finish with each other on November 16.
- South Carolina is the only team with fewer than three SEC games in November. They play Mississippi State on November 2 and then UF on the 16th.