2008. 2009. 2010. What are the last three years Cal haven't finished their season facing Stanford?
The Golden Bears have been stuck not finishing their regular season with the Big Game the last few years. Some of the reasons are legit (the Notre Dame contract sticks them as their home finale for TV purposes), some are B.S. )(Stanford athletes have finals or something that they have to study for, lest they end up earning their dreaded B-minuses). In any case, for outside viewers, we're not trying to figure out a name for our annual end-of-season rivalry game with team as far away from Cal as possible (Washington the past three years, ASU this year).
With the advent of the Pac-12 championship game and more Thanksgiving weekend Pac-12 games on the way, there could be more shifting in the cards. For whatever reason, Cal and Stanford fans remain adamantly opposed to playing Big Games on Thanksgiving weekend, because heaven forbid they have to book earlier flights to return the Bay Area from their SoCal trips. So in all likelihood, our regular season will not be ending in the Big Game on a regular basis anytime soon.
And don't think the moving might be done.
Would you be ok with moving the Big Game from its traditional late November pre-Thanksgiving slot to earlier in the year?Scott has already said the new Pac-12 TV network will be retaining a majority of the best possible matchups in the conference to give a reason for cable/satellite providers to add it to their packages. This could imply that a lot of the rivalry games might find their way to the network from 2012 onward.
Additionally, to ensure each game gets plum viewing, you might see games move to their own exclusive slots to ensure guaranteed interest in Pac-12 matchups week-by-week. It wouldn't be the first early move of a rivalry game--a lot of the SEC rivalry games take place during October and early November, as does the Red River Shootout. So how about the Civil War on Halloween, the Apple Cup in November, and cap it all off with USC-UCLA on Thanksgiving?
So The Big Game could be moving, but not to the place we all want it to be. Personally, if the Big Game moves from the next-to-last game to game to some scrub date in October, I won't be too bummed. It would kind of suck for Cal fans that have made this a November tradition for ages, who want something to look forward to even at the end of a miserable season.
But I'd learn to live with it. College football tradition has been malleable for awhile, and I'm ready to mold it some more.