State Finalizes 2006 Football Schedule

Mississippi State has finalized and officialized the 2006 football schedule for Coach Sylvester Croom's Bulldogs. And the slate remains unchanged from tentative lists reported last week.

The official 2006 schedule is: August 31 South Carolina; September 9 Auburn; September 16 Tulane; September 23 @ Alabama-Birmingham; September 30 @ LSU;

October 7 West Virginia; October 14 Jacksonville State; October 21 @ Georgia; October 28 Kentucky;

November 4 @ Alabama; November 18 Arkansas; November 25 @ Mississippi.

Mississippi State had confirmed two of these dates, for South Carolina and at UAB, last week. At the time MSU officials were still looking at possibly moving one or perhaps two of the non-conference home games, to avoid having the Bulldogs play ten consecutive weekends to being the slate. However, Jacksonville State was unable to move from the mid-October date to the only open date on the slate, November 11. Nor were any other of the non-league opponents lined up in '06.

The NCAA is allowing all Division I-A schools to play a dozen games this season, one year earlier than planned. Because there are only 13 weekends during the allowed playing dates, from Labor Day weekend to Thanksgiving weekend, there can be only one open date as it is. And in fact many schools, including those SEC teams that end their regular seasons on November 18, will be playing twelve consecutive weekends this fall. So while the one open date doesn't come until the last month of the season, at least the Bulldogs do get a break.

Times for the games are not announced, though it is set that the season-opener with South Carolina at Scott Field will be shown by ESPN on Thursday evening. The network has changed kickoff times for Thursday games the past few seasons, but it should be no later than 7:00 this fall.

Also, there is not officially a 'homecoming' game on the current schedule. This is because the University has a campus committee that selects what date Homecoming falls on, not the Athletic Department. Most believe the Jacksonville State game will be picked, of course.

The 2006 schedule features one new SEC foe, with South Carolina replacing Florida under the league's annual rotation. UAB is back on the slate for the second of three contracted games, following the 2004 meeting at Scott Field. Jacksonville State replaces Houston, and West Virginia is the added 12th game for both 2006 and '07. Tulane is the lone non-SEC carryover from 2005.

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