The SEC’s new scheduling policy forces all members to schedule one game per year against a school from another power conference. Where Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky all have ACC rival partners to make things easier, schools like Mississippi State need to think a little more outside the box. In 2022 and 2023, that non-scheduling requirement will be fulfilled with a series against Arizona, from the Pac-12.
Arizona and Mississippi State announced a home-and-home series scheduled in 2022 and 2023, marking the first games scheduled in the new series. Arizona will host Mississippi State in 2022 and Mississippi State will host the Wildcats in 2023. The specific dates for the games have not been determined just yet.
According to FBSchedules.com, Arizona is the only team from a power conference currently on the non-conference schedule for Mississippi State through 2023, but that will be sure to change with the new scheduling policy. The Pac-12 has no non-conference scheduling requirement to guarantee games against power conference opponents for its members, but with strength of schedule to become a factor in the College Football Playoff it is certainly good to see schools looking for opponents from other premiere conferences when available.
“We’re excited to announce this competitive series for our future football schedules,” Arizona Athletics Director Greg Byrne said in a statement about the scheduling news. Byrne also happens to be a former AD at Mississippi State, which may have helped in putting this series together. “The opportunity to play an SEC opponent will be a great addition to our schedule for our program and our fans.”
Arizona has a small history with SEC opponents, and it has not been a favorable one. The Wildcats are 1-5-1 all-time against SEC schools dating back to 1968. Two of those games were bowl games. Arizona’s last game against a team from the SEC was in 2006, a 45-3 loss to LSU. In 2003 LSU pounded Arizona 59-13 as well. The lone win against an SEC school for Arizona came on September 11, 1976 with a 31-19 victory against Auburn.
Mississippi State’s history against the Pac-12 is even more limited, with just three games dating back to 1977. The Bulldogs are 1-2 against the Pac-12. The lone win came on September 10, 1977 against Washington.