For whatever reason, the SEC publicly released the conference schedule for the 2013 season moments ago... in October... in 2012... in the midst of a season where the SEC is still king. I'm not sure why it had to be released right now, but as this season continues to look bleak, it gives Auburn fans something to look forward to with hope for the future.
We already know that Auburn will meet Gus Malzahn's Arkansas State in the 2nd game of the season and the Washington State Cougars most likely in the opener. Jacksonville State is on the schedule as well and will probably play the part of the in-state matchup between the Georgia and Alabama games. With one non-conference spot left, and the entire SEC schedule now known, the full 2013 schedule is almost complete.
So about that SEC schedule. Here it is (with possible non-conference/bye weeks):
Aug. 31: WASHINGTON STATE*
Sept. 7: ARKANSAS STATE**
Sept. 14: MISSISSIPPI STATE
Sept. 21: at LSU
Sept. 28: BYE/NON-CONFERENCE*
Oct. 5: OLE MISS
Oct. 12: BYE/NON-CONFERENCE*
Oct. 19: at Texas A&M
Oct. 26: BYE/NON-CONFERENCE*
Nov. 2: at Arkansas
Nov. 9: at Tennessee
Nov. 16: GEORGIA
Nov. 23: JACKSONVILLE STATE*
Nov. 30: ALABAMA
*- Likely, ** - Scheduled
Once again, Auburn plays Mississippi State as the first SEC game of the season. For the first time in a long time, Auburn plays at LSU early in the season. For years the game has been early when in Auburn, but mid or late season when in Baton Rouge.
Auburn has three away games in a row, but will either have a bye or a non-conference game between Texas A&M and Arkansas. Auburn picks up Tennessee and drops the return trip from Vanderbilt after they travel to Nashville this season. Going to Tennessee is always fun, but they should continue to improve, which might make it a tougher trip than it has been recently. When is the last time they beat Auburn?
The biggest surprise is the switch in the Georgia game. Forever, the Georgia and Alabama games have been opposite in terms of home and away. Now, due to cross-divisional scheduling and getting all other schedules straight, Georgia will be on the same home-away schedule as Alabama... for a little while. And yes that means Georgia has to visit Jordan-Hare for two seasons in a row. It's a shame, a real shame.
It also appears that Auburn will have two byes in the regular season. We already have three non-conference opponents locked down, but three weeks are open to fill the final spot. That leaves two open weeks. I guess that's just the product of the calendar.
Apparently this is just a "bridge" schedule to get us through until they make more permanent decisions in the future. That means that we shouldn't get too comfortable with home-away talk. It could work against us next season.
I'll look more in depth into this schedule, you know, next summer. But as I said, it's fun to think of the future when we're all back to square one.