SEC unveils 2012 schedule; Vols avoid Arkansas

Given a choice, Tennessee would have likely swapped its game against highly-ranked Arkansas for a shorter drive to Mississippi State in a heartbeat last season.

In theory, that's exactly what the Vols will do in 2012, according to its revised schedule, which was released today by the SEC.

The Vols won't have to worry about a rematch with the Razorbacks, who, after routing the Vols, 49-7, in November, were originally scheduled to play at Neyland Stadium next year. Instead, that spot was filled with the SEC's newest member, Missouri, which will begin its annual series with UT in Knoxville on Nov. 10.

The Vols' originally scheduled road trip to take on the Bulldogs remained in place. UT, after a bye week, will gun for its first October win against an SEC foe since 2009 when it travels to Starkville on Oct. 13. The Bulldogs will join Alabama (Oct. 20) as UT's only two SEC West foes on the schedule.

Considering the lengthy delay, hand-wringing by SEC athletic directors and added complexity because of the addition of two new teams, the release of UT's new schedule was relatively anti-climactic. The Vols' four non-conference games remained in tact and unmoved, they will continue to face their annual rivals around the same time of year that they always do and the SEC's other new team, Texas A&M, is nowhere to be found.

Thanks to consecutive road games with Georgia and Mississippi State and an open date sandwiched in between the two, the Vols will go four weeks without a game at Neyland Stadium from Sept. 22 (Akron) to Oct. 20 (Alabama). That quirk is compensated by the presence of just one road game (at Vanderbilt, Nov. 17) in the entire month of November.

Eight of UT's 12 opponents next season won at least six games in 2011. Of the five SEC teams UT won't face in 2012 -- LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, Texas A&M and Ole Miss -- all but one (Ole Miss) qualified for a postseason bowl.

2012 schedule

Sept. 1 - NC State (Atlanta)

Sept. 8 - Georgia State

Sept. 15 - Florida

Sept. 22 - Akron

Sept. 29 - at Georgia

Oct. 6 - Open

Oct. 13 - at Mississippi State

Oct. 20 - Alabama

Oct. 27 - at South Carolina

Nov. 3 - Troy

Nov. 10 - Missouri

Nov. 17 - at Vanderbilt

Nov. 24 - Kentucky

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 304

Lean_and_Hungry writes:

7 & 5

boston5761#559459 writes:

Since when are teams from the SEC scared to play quality competition?

tomkats3242 writes:

Schedule looks like maybe a tough year again. If players and coaches don't bring their best next year it will be a long year with no bowl game again. Six and Six might be a good year. Hope not, Go big Orange

ROCKYTOPBRAD writes:

sounds like 6 and 6 to me.

westknoxrepub writes:

Wins: Georgia State, Akron, Troy, Kentucky

Losses: NC State, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, South Carolina, Missouri, Vanderbilt.

Someone please inform me as to why a 4-8 record is somehow better than firing a coach after two years when he is clearly in over his head?

tomkats3242 writes:

in response to boston5761#559459:

Since when are teams from the SEC scared to play quality competition?

If you play the best and lose than people don't show up and the school don't make any money and MONEY is the key word when scheduling for wins.

MemphisHog writes:

Shoot! I knew the Tenn/Ark game would be the one that would be dropped. That's disappointing. I was really looking forward to seeing Neyland with more red than orange in the seats. Guess I'll have to wait a few more years...

ORNGFACTOR writes:

Its good to see we are not playing LSU. However, here is UGA's schedule. http://www.sicemdawgs.com/football/sc...

What a weak schedule and they avoid LSU again! Unbelievable.

boston5761#559459 writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

If you play the best and lose than people don't show up and the school don't make any money and MONEY is the key word when scheduling for wins.

That I understand, but it seems most SEC schools are trying to avoid the best. Those are the games that should bring in the most money. If I were a coach, I'd only want to play the best

rockytopvol writes:

If we can't win 8 to 10 with that schedule somebody will get fired

Southland writes:

yep 6-6 team again next year New coaching regime in 2013 so we get to start over again and again I was hoping Dooley would get it done but unless something wonderful and different happens we suffer thru another sad and pitiful year.

tomkats3242 writes:

in response to boston5761#559459:

That I understand, but it seems most SEC schools are trying to avoid the best. Those are the games that should bring in the most money. If I were a coach, I'd only want to play the best

Are you available for the AD job at UT? We need someone to make changes at the top starting with Cheek and then the coachs. I expect Hart to do his job but it will be hard with people over him not allowing the changes.

TommyJack writes:

Tiddy-babies abound.

Ayres_Hall writes:

10-2. Derek Dooley is the right man for the job. You'll be climbing all over each other to get back on the bandwagon. And it'll be fun to see how many of you willchange your names here and on all the comment boards.

Legion of the Miserable, be damned.

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

next season's schedule looks a LOT less daunting....that LSU-Alabama-Arkansas stretch was murderous!

bUTchVFL writes:

Dooley should win 8 to keep his job.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

10-2. Derek Dooley is the right man for the job. You'll be climbing all over each other to get back on the bandwagon. And it'll be fun to see how many of you willchange your names here and on all the comment boards.

Legion of the Miserable, be damned.

I'm sorry, but who exactly do you think we're going to beat? You're giving us at least one win between Georgia, Florida and Alabama. I'm assuming you think we're going to beat South Carolina, and I'm assuming you're saying we're going to beat Vandy and Mizzou. What about our 5-7 season gives you hope we're going to get better?

Ayres_Hall writes:

Vols would have loved Geogia's 2011 SEC schedule with Ole Miss and Miss State instead of Arky and LSU. Would have finished 8-4 with an undefeated November because we would have been much less beat-up and beat-down.

Schedule matters. Especially when you are 70% first and second year players (true frosh and sophs).

NottaVol writes:

in response to MemphisHog:

Shoot! I knew the Tenn/Ark game would be the one that would be dropped. That's disappointing. I was really looking forward to seeing Neyland with more red than orange in the seats. Guess I'll have to wait a few more years...

You can get a ticket when the Tide rolls into Neyboob and see the same thing.
5-7 at best.

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

honestly, if they will get their act together, anything from 8-4 to 11-1 would be very possible. 12-0 is too hard to imagine, though our toughest game will be at home against Alabama. I think making Jim Chaney the QB coach was a smart call, he didn't have any business coaching RB's. When he was at Purdue, he did great work with Drew Brees and Kyle Orton, but those teams practically never ran the ball. There was no point in making him RB coach! I don't really think I'm high on Darin Hinshaw as WR coach... I wouldn't be upset if someone hired him away so we could get someone new in his place. But I think if everyone will stay healthy, and the offensive line will grow as a unit, we'll have a good run next year regardless. The tools are there for it to happen.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

Vols would have loved Geogia's 2011 SEC schedule with Ole Miss and Miss State instead of Arky and LSU. Would have finished 8-4 with an undefeated November because we would have been much less beat-up and beat-down.

Schedule matters. Especially when you are 70% first and second year players (true frosh and sophs).

We would have lost to Mississippi State. Bray got hurt in the Georgia game, Hunter in the Florida game, both before the games against Bama, LSU and Arkansas. At best we'd be 6-6, but it doesn't matter because you have to play the hands you're dealt. Dooley shouldn't get a break because Georgia had an easier schedule.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to MemphisHog:

Shoot! I knew the Tenn/Ark game would be the one that would be dropped. That's disappointing. I was really looking forward to seeing Neyland with more red than orange in the seats. Guess I'll have to wait a few more years...

That would happen at other stadiums but not in Knoxville...EVER....How do you think we still rank in the top 15 football programs by Forbes given the last 4 or 5 seasons we've had....Say what we will the support may drop, what, 10%...which for most programs which spell catastrophic news...but we drop down to averaging in the 80,000's....but I know it's fun for opposing programs to beat up on us right now...I too wish we had a shot at the Hogs next year...actually I'd feel pretty good about our chances...after all....the Hogs/Vols record is laughably lopsided....

NottaVol writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

Schedule looks like maybe a tough year again. If players and coaches don't bring their best next year it will be a long year with no bowl game again. Six and Six might be a good year. Hope not, Go big Orange

Tough? Doofus couldn't have hand picked an easier schedule. But I guess when you are the cellar dwellers they are all tough.

florida-volfan writes:

I like how the headline includes.....Vols avoid Arkansas.....I guess that needs to be noted considering how they gave us the biggest ***whoopin in years. Seems like were trying to avoid a lot of people these days including UNC. Whos next, we may be trying to avoid Vandy before long. Certainly not the UT I remember from years ago

NashvillePreds writes:

Sweet!
No Arkansas!
4-8 here we come!!!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Wins: Georgia State, Akron, Troy, Kentucky

Losses: NC State, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, South Carolina, Missouri, Vanderbilt.

Someone please inform me as to why a 4-8 record is somehow better than firing a coach after two years when he is clearly in over his head?

Remind me, what coach did we fire after two years? I don't remember.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

Sweet!
No Arkansas!
4-8 here we come!!!

Given the options, we were 4-8 either way. Instead of losing to Arkansas we're just going to lose to Mississippi State.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to boston5761#559459:

That I understand, but it seems most SEC schools are trying to avoid the best. Those are the games that should bring in the most money. If I were a coach, I'd only want to play the best

The best are in the SEC or did you not notice the BCS CG lineup?

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Remind me, what coach did we fire after two years? I don't remember.

We didn't, that's my point. Any sane program would have fired Dooley after this year given his lack of control. However we were told we couldn't because it would create instability. Given the fact our most likely record is 4-8, I'm trying to figure out how the supposed instability is WORSE than going 4-8 and having to fire the guy after three years.

SEC1 writes:

wolfpack=l
ga st=w
gators=l
arkon=w
ga=l
miss state=l
bama=l
sc=l
troy=w
mizz=l
vandy=l
kentucky=w

Go_Big_O writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Wins: Georgia State, Akron, Troy, Kentucky

Losses: NC State, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, South Carolina, Missouri, Vanderbilt.

Someone please inform me as to why a 4-8 record is somehow better than firing a coach after two years when he is clearly in over his head?

Wanna just go ahead and fire him based on your pessimistic predictions for next year? Or maybe we should give them a chance...

orangeman1 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

I'm sorry, but who exactly do you think we're going to beat? You're giving us at least one win between Georgia, Florida and Alabama. I'm assuming you think we're going to beat South Carolina, and I'm assuming you're saying we're going to beat Vandy and Mizzou. What about our 5-7 season gives you hope we're going to get better?

In my eyes, there are 6 "should wins" The 4 OOC and Vandy and Ky. Then there is 2 "should lose" Bama and Georgia. and 4 "swing games" that UT has a shot at winning. Florida, Missouri,Miss st, and S Carolina. If UT just wins 2 of the swing games they should be 8-4. You ask what about our 5-7 gives us hope? I'll tell you. First, UT returns the entire offense from last year with a more mature experienced offensive line and hopefully Bray and Hunter wont both get injured. Second, UT's young defense was decent last year and they will only be better with more depth and experience. Third, we now have a great RB coach. Fourth we only play 3 top 25 teams in 2012 as opposed to 6 in 2011. I personally think this team will look more like the one that beat #24 Cincinatti then the one that layed an egg against KY. 8-4 is very possible next year.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

Vols would have loved Geogia's 2011 SEC schedule with Ole Miss and Miss State instead of Arky and LSU. Would have finished 8-4 with an undefeated November because we would have been much less beat-up and beat-down.

Schedule matters. Especially when you are 70% first and second year players (true frosh and sophs).

Ayres Hall,

Agree, Not knocking Georgia...........there are other reasons why their schedule looks this way 2 years in a row. But it is possible they could roll through it undefeated......exceptions might be made for the trips to Missouri and Auburn.

Right now, there will be a lot of speculation and winning and/or losing the games on paper.

That's what will make the long months interesting. Many games will be won or lost on the message boards, won't they? The Vols once again will depend on key players staying healthy, contributions from several new comers, new attitudes from players, coaches, etc. It'll really be interesting.

SEC1 writes:

in response to boston5761#559459:

Since when are teams from the SEC scared to play quality competition?

idk maybe that's why tenn buy's out of the unc game

DBELLALLVOL writes:

4-8, really? We are getting better, not worse. In comparison to 2011, this is a favorable schedule and there is no reason why we can't win 7 or 8 games next year.

utjunkie writes:

We avoid Arkansas and get Missouri. Missouri won't be an easy win, not with the offense they run.

NashvillePreds writes:

in response to MemphisHog:

Shoot! I knew the Tenn/Ark game would be the one that would be dropped. That's disappointing. I was really looking forward to seeing Neyland with more red than orange in the seats. Guess I'll have to wait a few more years...

Try actually winning a meaningful game in my lifetime, and then get back to us.

TheFuj writes:

Dooley needs 8 wins. If he cannot beat NC State, Ga St, FL, Akron, Troy, Vandy, and Ky, and then one other in his third year, he should be gone. At least 7 wins, but I don't think will be good enough. Have to see some progress sometime. Unbelieveable how bad this team is in the 2nd half. Not as the game wears on, but early in the 2nd half. Dooley is what 0-20 something when trailing at half. Something is wrong there.

voloffaith writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

I'm sorry, but who exactly do you think we're going to beat? You're giving us at least one win between Georgia, Florida and Alabama. I'm assuming you think we're going to beat South Carolina, and I'm assuming you're saying we're going to beat Vandy and Mizzou. What about our 5-7 season gives you hope we're going to get better?

Good morning Mister Bluesbird! How many pieces of coal were in your stocking? Jeepers Wally would somebody please (Lord Jesus) change this person's sad heart. I mean if this all he can ever muster("out of the abundance the heart speaks") from the heart then it's end end is not a pleasant one without divine intervention.

On topic,let's see...Vandy,Kentucky,Akron,Georgia St,Troy,NC St and with potential Spurrier boys even in Columbia good shot with their new defensive coordinator should be W's. Missouri will be a tossup along with Florida and Miss ST. Bama and Georgia losses most probably. So range from 6-9 wins realistic. Missouri isn't bad with Pinkel ,but not great. Florida is hard to read...have the athletes,but coaching concern. Miss st. has good coach and plan ,but athletes are missing at key positions unless recruiting meets it. He is a passing guy and his qb last year was more combo guy with strength at running. So if,big if, we improve at play and depth is better we have a realistic shot a t 9 wins and Coach Dooley needs minimum of 8 wins to satisfy AD and alumni/fans. Be competitive in all games and no blowouts this year. Ok my big analysis without paralysis is over . May you all enjoy dissecting and cross posting this one.

SEC1 writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

Try actually winning a meaningful game in my lifetime, and then get back to us.

same could be said about dereck dooley who still has yet to beat a top 50 program....maybe cincy.... manages to get beat by kentucky while vandy plays in a bowl game yet still tn fans hope for 9 wins in 2012...lol..

jimr07 writes:

in response to boston5761#559459:

Since when are teams from the SEC scared to play quality competition?

Are you talking about Florida?

gglardon50#417841 writes:

in response to boston5761#559459:

Since when are teams from the SEC scared to play quality competition?

well last year the Vols were afraid of N.C. and played Buffalo instead

jimr07 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Wins: Georgia State, Akron, Troy, Kentucky

Losses: NC State, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, South Carolina, Missouri, Vanderbilt.

Someone please inform me as to why a 4-8 record is somehow better than firing a coach after two years when he is clearly in over his head?

Are they still going to play the games?

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, it only took an overtime to beat Vandy in our stadium this year. As for South Carolina, we lost to them and they still didn't have Latimore. Yeah if Bray wasn't hurt we would have won. . .unless Latimore wasn't hurt. Injuries are a two way street and we still lost the game. North Carolina State is improved, having defeated Clemson and Louisville in a Bowl Game. Rogers may well be gone, and even if he isn't he'll be a distraction, and the reports stated Bray had the same attitude, and I don't think Dooley's going to be able to get his team back. If you think Vandy will be a cakewalk next year you're delusional.

superVOLman writes:

There sure is an abundance of self qualified prognosticators among the supposed VOL fans; I have a far out crazy idea, let's be hopeful and positive and get behind our coach (as long as he is our coach); as it is with every new season anything can and will happen..we could just as easily go 9-3 or 4-8...who knows what our record would've been had Hunter and Bray been healthy all season... just sayin'

SevenT writes:

2012 SHOULD beat Ga State, Akron and Troy....that is about it 3-9. Which will be a good thing because Double D will get fired!!

frblalack writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Wins: Georgia State, Akron, Troy, Kentucky

Losses: NC State, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, South Carolina, Missouri, Vanderbilt.

Someone please inform me as to why a 4-8 record is somehow better than firing a coach after two years when he is clearly in over his head?

We do have an easier schedule than 2011 in that we won't be playing Arkansas or LSU...unless it's in the Conference Championship. Oh, wait
YOU said we're going 4-8. Pretty much eliminates our winning the Eastern Division. But are you sure we won't be 3-9? or 2-10?

Your NEGATIVITY should not even be allowed on a Vol Fan Website. Bet all the West Knox Republicans are proud of you!

My bad...I should say everyone is entitled to their own opinion...absurd as it may be.

All Vols - All the Time - Vol for Life!

murrayvol writes:

in response to Lean_and_Hungry:

7 & 5

8-4

DenverVol writes:

Wow! Love all the optimism on here from all you so called fans. Yes, the past few years have been tough but geeze if all you see is the sky falling please do us all a favor and get out from underneath it. I see this schedule as a ton more favorable then this past season. If we can stay a bit more healthy in 2012 I see 8 to 10 wins. This fan is truly looking forward to NSD and Spring practice. Go VOLS!

superVOLman writes:

I'm making a list of all the Yahoos who are writing the season off before it even starts so I can verify who actually mans up and admits they were wrong when/if we actually have a good season and CDD is getting the praise he would then deserve...what can I say? I have to keep busy during the offseason

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