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Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Key SEC game times set for the fall

By Edward Aschoff

A handful of dates and times for key SEC games for the 2013 football season were announced Tuesday.

Georgia announced that its highly anticipated opening matchup with Clemson -- at Clemson -- is set to air on ABC at 8 p.m. ET on Aug. 31. This game could feature two top-10 teams once the season starts. The Bulldogs are 44-26-2 all time when playing on ABC.

LSU's opener on Aug. 31 against TCU in the Cowboys Classic at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will kick off at 9 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN. LSU and TCU will be meeting for the first time since 1968. The Tigers hold a 5-2-1 lead in the all-time series.

Before the Bulldogs and Tigers kick off their seasons, the defending champs will get the national stage inside the Georgia Dome in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. Alabama will face Virginia Tech at 5:30 p.m. ET on Aug. 31, and the game will be televised on ESPN.

“Any way you look at it, this is an epic game between two top programs led by two of the best coaches in college football,” Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO Gary Stokan said in a release Tuesday. “Add to that, two of the best fan bases in the nation and an unopposed time slot on ESPN and you have the makings of a battle of heavyweights the country will anticipate all summer long.”

Ole Miss and Vanderbilt will kick off SEC play this year by joining South Carolina, which opens with North Carolina, on the first Thursday of the season. The Rebels and Commodores will play on Aug. 29, in Nashville, Ole Miss announced Tuesday, and the game will be televised on ESPN at 9:15 p.m. ET, following South Carolina's 6 p.m. ET kickoff with the Tar Heels.

Mississippi State's home game with Kentucky also is moving to Thursday night. The schools announced Tuesday that both teams will face each other on Oct. 24, in a game that will be televised on ESPN at 7:30 ET. This will mark the 14th time the Bulldogs have played on Thursday night, while it will be Kentucky's seventh Thursday night appearance.
"The ESPN Thursday night package is yet another opportunity for us to show off Mississippi State to a large audience," Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said in a release through the school. "With us having an off week prior to the Kentucky game, it was a move that made a lot of sense."