A look at UF's 2012 schedule

December, 28, 2011
12/28/11
10:55
AM ET
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Southeastern Conference released its 2012 schedule Wednesday morning and the league has chosen Florida to welcome Texas A&M into the league.The Gators will travel to College Station, Texas, to play the Aggies on Sept. 8. It’ll be the first SEC game for Texas A&M, which jumped ship from the Big 12 earlier this year. That will be a new experience for everyone at Florida, with the exception of head coach Will Muschamp. He made one trip there (2009) while he was Texas’ defensive coordinator.

“It's a very SEC-like atmosphere as far as their support is concerned,” Muschamp said. “They have a great tradition playing there at home."

The Longhorns won that 2009 game 49-39 en route to a berth in the BCS National Championship Game.

A few tidbits about the schedule:

The Gators play seven home games, four road games, and one neutral-site game.

UF’s bye week comes early in 2012. The Gators are off Sept. 29.

For the first time since 1995 the Gators will open SEC play with a team other than Tennessee.

Here’s an analysis of Florida’s 2012 schedule:

Bowling Green
Where: Florida Field
When: Sept. 1
Series: First meeting
The skinny: This game would have been a lot more interesting were former Falcons coach Urban Meyer still UF’s coach. BGU went 5-7 in 2011 and went just 2-6 in their final eight games.

Texas A&M
Where: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas
When: Sept. 8
Series: Tied 1-1
The skinny: The Aggies will have a new coach (Kevin Sumlin) in addition to a new conference home. It’ll be a pretty good early test for UF’s defense because Sumlin wants to throw the football -- a lot. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have Case Keenum anymore.

Tennessee
Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.
When: Sept. 15
Series: Florida leads 22-19
The skinny: The Gators have won seven in a row over the Vols, including three in a row in Knoxville. UT has struggled to run the ball the last several seasons, but QB Tyler Bray is emerging as one of the leagues’ top quarterbacks.

Kentucky
Where: Florida Field
When: Sept. 22
Series: Florida leads 45-17
The skinny: The Gators have won 25 games in a row over the Wildcats, which is the nation’s longest active streak over a major college opponent in an uninterrupted series. The last four meetings have been decided by at least 34 points.

LSU
Where: Florida Field
When: Oct. 6
Series: Florida leads 30-25-3
The skinny: LSU has won five of the last eight meetings and coach Les Miles has a 4-3 mark against UF. The Tigers will be national championship contenders again in 2012 behind one of the country’s top defenses. Plus, the Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu) returns as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

Vanderbilt
Where: Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville
When: Oct. 13
Series: Florida leads 34-9-2
The skinny: Florida has won 21 games in a row in the series, although the Gators had trouble with the Commodores this season in Gainesville. QB Jordan Rodgers looked a lot like his older brother (Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers) against UF’s defense in UF’s 26-21 victory. Coach James Franklin has made the Commodores a tough out.

South Carolina
Where: Florida Field
When: Oct. 20
Series: Florida leads 23-6-3
The skinny: The Gators have dominated this series historically, but the Gamecocks have won two in a row under former UF coach Steve Spurrier. South Carolina’s defense has been the main reason, forcing four turnovers and holding the Gators to 487 yards combined in the last two meetings.

Georgia
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
When: Oct. 27
Series: Georgia leads 51-36-2
The skinny: The Bulldogs have won just four times in the series since 1990 and return most of the offense that helped them win the Eastern Division in 2011, including QB Aaron Murray. Coach Mark Richt has gone from the hot seat to getting a contract extension.

Missouri
Where: Florida Field
When: Nov. 3
Series: Missouri leads 1-0
The skinny: The Tigers capped an 8-5 season in 2011 by routing North Carolina in the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl. Missouri was 10th in the nation in rushing in 2011 (244.0 yards per game). Henry Josey ran for 1,168 yards and nine TDs and will be a junior in 2012.

Louisiana-Lafayette
Where: Florida Field
When: Nov. 10
Series: Florida leads 4-0
The skinny: The Ragin’ Cajuns went 9-4 in 2011 and beat San Diego State in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. QB Blaine Gautier returns for his senior season after throwing for 2,958 yards with 23 TDs and six INTs.

Jacksonville State
Where: Florida Field
When: Nov. 17
The series: First meeting
The skinny: The Gamecocks finished tied for first with Tennessee Tech in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 9-4 record but did not qualify for the FCS playoffs because they lost to Tech earlier in the season.

Florida State
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.
When: Nov. 24
Series: Florida leads 33-21-2
The skinny: The Seminoles have won the last two meetings by a combined 52-14. The Gators committed eight turnovers in those games, including three first-half interceptions by John Brantley last month. The Seminoles may not be back nationally, but they are in this series.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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