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Speaking of the 2009 Schedule...

One of the fanposts a few days ago was talking about the 2009 schedule, and though I cannot find any official confirmation just yet, this is apparently the schedule being tentatively circulated around Tide Pride:

September 5th: Virginia Tech (Georgia Dome, contract not yet finalized)

September 12th: Florida International

September 19th: North Texas

September 26th: Arkansas

October 3rd: Kentucky (Lexington)

October 10th: Ole Miss (Oxford)

October 17th: South Carolina

October 24th: Tennessee

October 31st: Bye week

November 7th: LSU

November 14: Mississippi State (Starkville)

November 21: Tennessee-Chattanooga

November 28th: Auburn (Auburn)


All told, the format of the schedule essentially works out just like it did this season. We'll start off with an ACC team in the Georgia Dome (assuming they finalize the deal), and then it will be a couple of cupcake OOC games before conference play starts with Arkansas. November wraps up about the same, too. We get a bye week before LSU, then play Mississippi State, get another cupcake, and then play Auburn on the last Saturday in November.

You will note that we only have one bye week, and that is by design. In 2009, SEC teams will only get one bye week throughout the season, and we are of course no different. It's essentially the same as this past year, though, with the only difference that instead of getting a bye week before the Iron Bowl, next year we will get Tennessee-Chattanooga (in what might be homecoming).

Moreover, a few teams will get bye weeks immediately before they play us next season, but it shouldn't matter too much. Auburn and Mississippi State will, though neither should matter with those two, and Ole Miss has the option of doing so as well. Moreover, it seems that Tennessee will get an off-week before they play the Tide as well, which could be a bit of a trap game because we will be playing for our eighth consecutive week when they come to town. Fortunately, though, we get an off week before LSU (they don't), and Arkansas, South Carolina, and Kentucky all have conference opponents the week before they play Alabama.

All in all, though, the schedule looks pretty dang good. Virginia Tech will be a good bit tougher opponent than Clemson -- you can rest assured the Hokies will at least play physical and put up a fight, they won't roll over dead like Clemson did -- but the other three OOC games are extreme cupcakes, and this is the best year possible for us with the conference slate. All of the most difficult games will be at home, and we draw South Carolina and Kentucky out of the East. There is no doubt that we've got a lot of work to do for the upcoming season, but at the very least we do have a pretty favorable schedule.