Arkansas's Schedule Is Soft in the Middle // SEC 2012: The New SEC

Last year's game aside, the Arkansas-LSU game is always a great one to close the year with.

This is an overview. Predictions come later. Home team in CAPS.

SEPTEMBER

9/1: JACKSONVILLE STATE

9/8: LA-Monroe (Little Rock)

9/15: ALABAMA

9/22: RUTGERS

9/29: at Texas A&M

There's nothing really notable about starting the season with Jacksonville State. The Louisiana-Monroe game is somewhat unusual, in that it's classified as a road game despite being in Little Rock. It's part of a long-term deal Arkansas signed with the school that lets it count those games as home games to keep it above Division I-A's attendance requirement. The real season starts in Week 3 when Alabama comes to town. It will be our first glimpse at just what kind of team the Razorbacks have this year. An intriguing game against a Rutgers team you can't name anyone from because Mohamed Sanu left comes up after. I say intriguing because, as Rutgers is a Big East school, you can't possibly know what kind of team it is from one week to the next. Finally, the month wraps up with the familiar opponent of Texas A&M, though not at JerryWorld this time. It should be an entertaining shootout.

OCTOBER

10/6: at Auburn

10/13: KENTUCKY

10/20: BYE

10/27: OLE MISS

This is about as cushy as any SEC October slate gets, so enjoy it, Hogs. The game at Auburn will be tricky, as the Tigers are no pushovers, but it is certainly winnable for the visitors. The rest of the month consists of the two consensus divisional basement dwellers with a bye week slipped in between them. There's really not much else to say. It's the most kind October I can remember for a conference contender.

NOVEMBER

11/3: TULSA

11/10: at South Carolina

11/17: at Mississippi State

11/23: LSU

Here is where Arkansas pays for its easy October. Beware anyone who says after the season that the Razorbacks swooned late, because this is just a really hard month of games. Tulsa is one of CUSA's best teams, but it should be a win because the school disbanded its defense a few years ago. The final game of the designated rivalry with South Carolina follows in Columbia, and while it will be a tough game, the Gamecocks have never beaten an Arkansas team that finished the season above .500. Another road game follows with Mississippi State, and the Hogs have had far more trouble with them in Starkville than at home in recent years. It all closes with LSU on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Last year aside, that series has been one of the SEC's best. Every game from 2005-10 was decided by no more than eight points, and it yielded a couple of overtime contests. The schedule more or less starts strongly and definitely ends strongly. Only October stands out as a real break.

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