Missouri's Schedule Has a Lot of Variables // SEC 2012: The New SEC

For a third consecutive year, the Tigers will play at College Station.

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

SEPTEMBER

9/1: SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA

9/8: GEORGIA

9/15: ARIZONA STATE

9/22: at South Carolina

9/29: at UCF

Mizzou gets to start off with a fairly common SEC snack in Southeastern Louisiana, but things get moving quite quickly after that. Divisional favorite Georgia breaks the Tigers into the SEC in the second week, but they'll be doing it without several suspended secondary starters. A chance for revenge for last year's hearbreaking overtime loss to Arizona State follows, making this half of the home-and-home a rare SEC-Pac 12 matchup. A road trip at another divisional contender in South Carolina awaits on the other side, helping to shake out some of the East race before the first month is even over. Missouri closes out with a trip to Orlando to face UCF. It's a rare thing to see SEC schools outside of Mississippi schedule home-and-homes with non-major schools, but Mizzou has some lined up with UCF, Toledo, Memphis, and Wyoming in the coming years.

OCTOBER

10/6: VANDERBILT

10/13: ALABAMA

10/20: BYE

10/27: KENTUCKY

Missouri gets its second three-game home stand of the season here taking up the entirety of the month of October. Vanderbilt is the other academically minded, black and gold-wearing school in the league, and it will be a good game. The toughest game of the season is likely the next one with Alabama paying a visit to Faurot Field. It will be fascinating to see how the coaches in this one, the offensive-minded Gary Pinkel and defensive savant Nick Saban, punch and counter punch in this one. A well deserved bye week comes next before the game that is the closest thing to a tune up game that the SEC offers. It'll be needed heading into a daunting final month.

NOVEMBER

11/3: at Florida

11/10: at Tennessee

11/17: SYRACUSE

11/24: at Texas A&M

No disrespect to South Carolina intended, which I know is a raucous place from personal experience in 2005, but the first two games in this month are more the kind of storied venues people think of with the SEC. Depending on how the season shakes out, however, Williams-Brice might end up being the toughest new conference venue the Tigers experience anyway. The Swamp usually gets pretty rollicking for conference games regardless, but it has had trouble the past two seasons getting up for the later-season games with the team out of the divisional race. Neyland can be hell on visitors, but it can also get eerily quiet if the visiting team lands the first couple of punches. If those teams have another rough season like they've had the past two years, this back-to-back road set might not be so bad. It could also be just awful if those teams rekindle the magic of the mid- and late-1990s. A visit from Phil Steele's No. 7 Big East team follows before the finale in College Station. On the one hand, it is Mizzou's third consecutive trip there thanks to scheduling quirks, but on the other, the Tigers are 2-0 in the first two games of that stretch.

It's hard to pinpoint just yet where the true trouble spots are in the schedule, which is about right for the SEC East. Several teams could go either way (Vandy, Florida, Tennessee), and even Georgia is a bit of a question mark that early thanks to the suspensions and loss of Isaiah Crowell. In a wide open division, Missouri's schedule is about as variable as they come.

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