Birmingham, Ala. - Vanderbilt will open the 2012 football season with a Thursday night home game against SEC East rival South Carolina, and also host conference foes Florida, Auburn and Tennessee on campus, the league office announced today.
The Commodores will also travel to Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Missouri, who joined the SEC in early November as its 14th member just weeks after another Big 12 member, Texas A&M, announced plans to move to the SEC.
Head Coach James Franklin, preparing his Commodores for the 53rd AutoZone Liberty Bowl, said the Vanderbilt squad looks forward to the challenge.
"While our focus is on Cincinnati and getting ready for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, all of us at Vanderbilt are excited about the home games next season and the entire 2012 schedule," Franklin said.
Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor of University Affairs and Student Athletics David Williams said conference officials and leaders from the 14 individual schools have been working diligently to release the highly anticipated SEC schedule.
"It was a very difficult process to put this schedule together from a conference standpoint," Williams said. "The entry of two new members at two different points in time were complicating and the SEC has a strong desire to preserve the eight-game league schedule, which also made it more difficult. Fans should keep in mind that this league schedule is only for the 2012 season. We are very pleased that the SEC was able to honor our desire to open with South Carolina on a Thursday night; we think that will be a great game for our program and our fans. The athletic directors will be taking another look at future schedules soon."
The SEC office and all 14-member schools announced the 2012 schedule simultaneously.
In addition to playing the SEC slate, Vanderbilt will face Northwestern of the Big Ten Conference, Wake Forest of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the University of Massachusetts of the Mid-American Conference, and Presbyterian College in non-conference action.
The Commodores will play on the University of Missouri campus for the first time in more than 50 years. Vanderbilt won the last game played between the teams, 12-8 in 1958. Though the schools have played on just four occasions, the first Vandy-Missouri encounter dates to 1895.