The SEC has released its opening week football schedule for Sept. 26, and the four first-year head coaches in the league all have daunting assignments.
Mike Leach’s Mississippi State team goes on the road to face defending national champion LSU, which is ranked No. 5 in the Amway Preseason Coaches Poll. The other three first-year SEC coaches — Arkansas’ Sam Pittman, Missouri’s Eli Drinkwitz and Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin — also debut against teams ranked in the top 10 of the coaches’ poll.
Arkansas faces No. 4 Georgia at home, while Missouri takes on No. 3 Alabama at home and Ole Miss plays No. 8 Florida at home.
The SEC will play a 10-game, league-only schedule this season and previously announced earlier this month two additional opponents for each team to go along with the existing eight league foes. The two additional opponents were cross-divisional foes and selected, according to a statement from SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, to “create a schedule that is as competitive as possible and builds on the existing eight conference games that had already been scheduled for 2020.”
The entire schedule will be announced Monday at 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
The only two Week 1 matchups involving add-on games from the other division are Alabama at Missouri and Georgia at Arkansas.
Sources told ESPN that a conference call with head coaches and SEC officials last week became heated over the lack of transparency in how the two additional games were selected.