Following a lengthy process to accommodate ESPN’s request to add this year’s Ole Miss game at South Carolina to its Thursday Night national television package, Athletics Director Pete Boone announced Tuesday the Rebels’ complete football schedules for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Highlighting the 2009 schedule will be home Southeastern Conference dates with Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU, while SEC road trips will be to South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Auburn and Mississippi State.
The non-conference schedule has Coach Houston Nutt’s Rebels visiting Memphis to open the season on Sept. 5, while home games with Southeastern Louisiana, UAB and Northern Arizona will provide non-conference opposition in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Ole Miss will be facing the Lions, Blazers and Lumberjacks in football for the first time in school history, with the Oct. 17 UAB game designated as Homecoming on the Oxford campus.
Moving the South Carolina date from a Saturday to Thursday night resulted in two additional schedule adjustments for Ole Miss in 2009. Ole Miss was to have played Vanderbilt on Sept. 19, but that game is now scheduled for Oct. 3. Another change that became necessary was to move a scheduled home game with Southeastern Louisiana from Sept. 12 to Sept. 19.
“Over the past several months, due to the ESPN request, we have been in and out of discussions with literally 15 to 20 schools in order to complete our 2009 schedule,” Boone said. “When you have to consider things like available dates and each team’s needs for home and away games, it does complicate the decision-making process.”
The final piece of the puzzle fell into place this week when Ole Miss added Northern Arizona for a game on Nov. 7. The Rebels will have an open date on Sept. 12.
While the 2009 schedule includes two Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) teams in Northern Arizona and Southeastern Louisiana, Boone noted that this year’s schedule was an anomaly. “We didn’t intend to schedule two I-AA teams nor do we anticipate scheduling two I-AA teams in the same year again,” he said.
In the past six seasons, Northern Arizona has played Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) teams Arizona (2004, 2005, 2007), Arizona State (2006, 2008) and Utah (2006). In addition to playing Ole Miss this season, the Lumberjacks will also face Arizona.
The Rebels are among a number of BCS schools playing two FCS opponents this season. They include Atlantic Coast Conference members Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State; Big 12 Conference member Kansas State; and Big East member South Florida.
The 2010 schedule will have Kentucky replacing South Carolina inside the SEC for a game to be played in Oxford. Other home dates with SEC teams include Vanderbilt, Auburn and Mississippi State, with SEC road games set at Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU. Non-conference opponents at home in 2010 will be Fresno State, Jacksonville State and Louisiana-Lafayette, with Tulane on the road.
Boone also announced additional non-conference opponents for the future, which will include home-and-home dates with Texas, Tulane, Clemson and Georgia Tech as well as return dates with UAB and Fresno State, plus home games with Southern Illinois and Central Arkansas.
OLE MISS 2009 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 5 Memphis
Sept. 12 Open
South Carolina (ESPN)
OLE MISS 2010 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
New Orleans, La.
Baton Rouge, La.