CBS announced this morning that it will open its coverage of the 2012 Southeastern Conference football season with the Alabama at Arkansas game on Sept. 15 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
By picking the Crimson Tide and Razorbacks, two teams that finished in the top five last season, the network has bypassed the Florida-Tennessee game that same day. The Florida-Tennessee game has been the only matchup CBS has televised every year since becoming the primary network for SEC games in 1996.
CBS has televised the Gators and Volunteers in prime time on five occasions, most recently in 2006.
This year's game between Florida and Tennessee in Knoxville will be televised by ESPN with a kickoff at 6. That will be followed at 9:15 by the game between Texas and Ole Miss in Oxford.
The league's television schedule for the first three weeks was released this morning. Tennessee's game Sept. 8 against visiting Georgia State will be on pay-per view, and the kickoff time will be at 4 p.m.
Georgia will host Buffalo on Sept. 1 with a 12:21 kickoff on the SEC Network. The Bulldogs then will play twice at night, going to Missouri on Sept. 8 for a 7:45 kickoff on ESPN2, and coming back to host Florida Atlantic on Sept. 15 at 7:30 on CSS.
Some other Sept. 8 games of note are Auburn at Mississippi State (noon on ESPN), Florida at Texas A&M (3:30 on ESPN) and Western Kentucky at Alabama (3:39 on the SEC Network).
For more information, read Tuesday's Times Free Press.