By Robbie Neiswanger
Arkansas News Bureau • firstname.lastname@example.org
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas has five games left in the 2012 season.
But that won’t stop anyone from looking ahead to 2013 today.
The Southeastern Conference has unveiled its 2013 conference schedule, giving all 14 teams a chance to plan ahead. The SEC's announcement coincided with Arkansas releasing its entire 12-game schedule. The Razorbacks will play seven games at home and five on the road in 2013.
Here is the full schedule:
Aug. 31 UL-Lafayette (Fayetteville)
Sept. 7 Samford (Little Rock)
Sept. 14 Southern Miss (Fayetteville)
Sept. 21 at Rutgers (Piscataway, N.J.)
Sept. 28 Texas A&M (Fayetteville)
Oct. 5 at Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)
Oct. 12 South Carolina (Fayetteville)
Oct. 19 at Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Nov. 2 Auburn (Fayetteville)
Nov. 9 at Ole Miss (Oxford, Miss.)
Nov. 23 Mississippi State (Little Rock)
Nov. 30 at LSU (Baton Rouge, La.)
So what do we learn from it? First, here is what SEC commissioner Mike Slive said about the schedule: "As we began working on the 2013 football schedule, it became apparent that the conference would need another year of the ‘bridge’ schedule to make everything work,” Slive said in a statement. “I appreciate the SEC transition team and our athletics directors, who came together to put this schedule in place. We look forward to starting with our new scheduling rotation in 2014.”
• No Missouri in 2013. Arkansas-Missouri have been announced as permanent East-West opponents, but the "bridge" schedule has Arkansas-South Carolina still on for 2013. Mark Womack, the SEC's executive associate commissioner, explains in a Q&A at SECSports.com: “That was part of the ‘bridge’ schedule and really part of trying to have either a conference game or a non-conference traditional rival game on the last week of the season that created some issues for us. It created the situation where we had to look at holding off going to those permanent opponents for a year.”
• The Arkansas-LSU game will remain at the end of the regular season. There have been all kinds of rumors that LSU-Texas A&M will take the final slot. It may still happen, since the SEC is calling this a "bridge" schedule as it works for its permanent plans for 2014. But Arkansas-LSU will be featured at least once more at the end of the regular season.
• Arkansas has a rough road schedule ahead of itself in 2013. The Razorbacks' four SEC road games are against Florida (Oct. 5), Alabama (Oct. 12), Ole Miss (Nov. 9) and LSU (Nov. 30). Throw in a road trip to Rutgers and its pretty clear Arkansas' next coach won't have an easy time.
• The Razorbacks have filled out their nonconference schedule with Louisiana-Lafayette, Samford, Southern Miss and Rutgers. They are the first four games.
• Arkansas got its wish in sliding Alabama back later in the season. The Razorbacks, who have lost six straight to the Crimson Tide, will now play Alabama on Oct. 19.
• There are two bye weeks in the 2013 season. Arkansas will be off on Oct. 26 and again on Nov. 16.