Because UAB had disbanded its football program last December — you may have heard it’s since been resurrected — Kentucky had a hole in its 2016 football schedule.
After this afternoon, consider it filled.
In a press release, Southern Miss announced that it has reached an agreement on a two-game series with the SEC school. And, in a move that may surprise some, it’s actually a home-and-home series.
Per the release, the Golden Eagles will travel to Lexington, Ky., on Sept. 3, 2016, to open the two-game series, with the Wildcats making their first-ever trip to Hattiesburg and Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium on Sept. 2, 2017.
The programs have met twice in football, the first coming in 1949 and the last in 1986. UK won both meetings, which were played in Lexington.
“I’m very pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with the University of Kentucky for a home-and-home football series beginning in 2016,” said Southern Miss athletic director Bill McGillis. “I’m excited for our team and certainly excited for our fans. Given that we have hosted in-state SEC foes, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, just a handful of times over the last 40 years and have never hosted a member of the SEC outside the state of Mississippi, this qualifies as ‘big news’. Home games at The Rock to open the season against an outstanding Mississippi State program this fall and against Kentucky in 2017 provide wonderful opportunities to showcase Southern Miss and these games will have a significant impact on not only the city of Hattiesburg, but the entire Pine Belt region.
“Lexington will also be a super destination for our fans to visit in 2016 – UK has a fan base noted for its great hospitality and its passion for the Wildcats – and I know it will be an exciting trip.”
The 2017 game will mark the first time Southern Miss has hosted an SEC opponent who hails from outside of the state of Mississippi.
There is one casualty as a direct result of this new series. Southern Miss had been scheduled to play BYU in 2016; McGillis confirmed on Twitter that the BYU game has been pushed off the 2016 slate and will be rescheduled on a future to-be-determined date.
Additionally, McGillis confirmed that the 2017 game with Tennessee has been moved from Sept. 2 to Sept. 16. That movement could trigger yet another development.