MSU Opens SEC Slate Against South Carolina

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Rick Ray's first SEC opponent will be South Carolina at Humphrey Coliseum on Jan. 9
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STARKVILLE, Miss. - When SEC play begins in January, there will be a new look and format, not to mention the addition of two teams.

On Friday, the league office rolled out the new era of play for all to see.

Mississippi State, under the direction of first-year coach Rick Ray, welcomes an 18-game slate that will feature home-and-home outings with Ole Miss, Florida, LSU, South Carolina and Alabama and single-game showdowns with the remaining eight league foes.

For the Bulldogs, play begins at home on Jan. 9 against South Carolina, a 7 p.m. tilt that can be seen on ESPN3. It's the first of three games for MSU on the internet-based broadcast, along with a home date with newcomer Texas A&M on Jan. 30 and the return game at South Carolina on March 6.

"I am excited that the SEC chose to preserve our natural rivalry with Ole Miss when putting together this schedule," Ray said. "Our schedule seems balanced and challenging, but if you are in a BCS conference there is no such thing as a favorable schedule. The big positive is that we play all of our SEC games on Wednesday and Saturday, so it sets our players up for a great routine during the season, very similar to a football schedule."

Following the SEC lidlifter, MSU is on the road at Georgia Jan. 12 (SEC Network) before returning to Humphrey Coliseum on Jan. 16 against long-time rival Alabama (CSS). Then it's back on the road for two-consecutive outings at Tennessee (SEC Network) on Jan. 19 and at Arkansas on Jan. 23 (CSS).

On Jan. 26, Florida invades Starkville in a game televised on ESPN2.

February play begins with LSU on the 2nd (FSN), while Ray gets his first taste of the Ole Miss rivalry in Oxford on the 6th (CSS). On Feb. 9, the Bulldogs make a return trip to Florida (FSN) before returning home to face the league's other newcomer in Missouri on Feb. 13 (SEC Network). Then it's back on the road at LSU (ESPNU) and Alabama (SEC Network) on Feb. 16 and 20th, respectively.

On Feb. 23, Mississippi State welcomes Vanderbilt (SEC Network) to Humphrey Coliseum before traveling to defending national champion Kentucky (SEC Network) on Feb. 27.

In addition to the game at South Carolina, the month of March features home games with the Rebels (FSN) on the 2nd and the regular-season finale with Auburn (FSN) on the 9th.

The SEC Tournament is slated for March 13-17 in Nashville.


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