Some are calling Georgia’s 2012 Southeastern Conference schedule – which doesn’t include top-ranked Louisiana State University or No. 2 Alabama for a second consecutive year – a cakewalk.
But for all the buzz the release of 2012’s master SEC schedule caused on Wednesday morning, No. 18 Georgia’s players and coaches in Tampa, Fla., had little to say about it, instead preferring to focus on facing No. 12 Michigan State in the Jan. 2 Outback Bowl.
“I’m still trying to focus on this year, get this last game over with and worry about next year when it’s time to,” Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree said.
Coach Mark Richt even declined to comment on specifics when asked about it at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
“I think the focus should be on this game, and that’s really what we’re going to be focused on,” Richt said.
“I don’t want to get too far down the road. Let’s finish up this season and we’ll talk about those things in the future.”
The Bulldogs’ 2012 schedule features a few changes from the one the conference built before the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M was announced for next season.
Most notably, Georgia lost its game at Alabama, replacing it with a Sept. 8 trip to Missouri, and the traditionally early-season conference opener against South Carolina has been pushed back to Oct. 6.
Additionally, the Georgia-Kentucky game has been pushed back a week to Oct. 20, swapping places with the Georgia bye week before playing Florida on Oct. 27 in Jacksonville, Fla. Florida also shuffled its bye week and now plays host to South Carolina a week before playing Georgia.
Georgia will play three conference games at Sanford Stadium in 2012: Vanderbilt (Sept. 22), Tennessee (Sept. 29) and Ole Miss (Nov. 3). Road games include Missouri (Sept. 8), South Carolina (Oct. 6), Kentucky (Oct. 20) and Auburn (Nov. 10).
The Bulldogs play Mississippi and Auburn out of the West.
LSU and Alabama, which will play in the BCS Championship Game, will play again on Nov. 3 when the Crimson Tide visits the Tigers.
Athletic directors will meet in the spring to decide the formula for future schedules.
“Fans should keep in mind that this league schedule is only for the 2012 season ...” David Williams, Vanderbilt’s vice chancellor in charge of athletics said in a statement.
“Who knows what 2013 and beyond will hold, but that’s where we will have to come together and meet as a group of (athletic directors) to find some way to incorporate all of it,” said Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said.
“We already have so many non-conference teams scheduled ... so we will have to see how that plays into everything.”
The Bulldogs’ 2012 non-conference games are all scheduled to be played at Sanford Stadium. They are Buffalo (Sept. 1), Florida Atlantic (Sept. 15), Georgia Southern (Nov. 17) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 24).
Teams will still play eight conference games, with six against divisional foes and two against the other division. The SEC championship game will be Dec. 1 in Atlanta.
There remain plenty of kinks to work out for 2012, though. Texas A&M is under a 10-year contract to play Arkansas in Dallas, and Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino said recently the Aggies want a home-and-home series now that both teams are in the SEC.
Arkansas released an 11-game schedule with the Razorbacks busy trying to line up a final non-conference opponent.