We're ticked that the Pac-12 saw fit to move the Big Game to mid-October while everyone else's rivalry game gets played in the last two weeks of the regular season.
We're ticked that Cal, and only Cal, has to play 12 consecutive weeks in the 2012 season with no bye week and then gets the completely useless bye on Thanksgiving week.
Point #1: Larry Scott doesn't care about what we think. As far as he's concerned, his job is to do Big Things and generate money for the conference. Little things like sticking us with a bad schedule and dumping our rivalry game in mid-October and listening to our complaints about it are things that, I'm sure, he thinks should be handled two or three pay grades below his.
Point #2: No one in the conference office or at any of the other Pac-12 schools cares, either. As far as they are concerned, the conference already accommodated Cal on the football schedule in at least two ways: (1) Excusing Cal from hosting Thursday night games, and (2) Letting Cal and Stanford veto the initial plan to play the Big Game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Point #3: There are four conference games on Thursday night this year, involving 7 of the Pac-12 teams (ASU plays on consecutive Thursday nights in 2012, as Cal did in 2011). Every team playing on a Thursday gets a bye the week before their Thursday game and thus can't have another bye week. With USC playing Notre Dame on Thanksgiving weekend, one of the Pac-12 teams has to be off that week or playing a non-conference game, and it has to be one of the teams that didn't play on a Thursday. Cal is of course one of those teams.
So, what's it all mean?
As long as Cal and Stanford refuse to play the Big Game on Thanksgiving week, there is a risk that the Big Game will be singled out by the conference to get bumped to earlier in the season, especially in even years when USC plays Notre Dame that week. Either the schools will have to stop vetoing Thanksgiving week or find some other plan that satisfies the rest of the league. AFAIK, none of the other Pac-12 schools object to having their rivalry game played that weekend.
The one thing that can be fixed is the bye during Thanksgiving week. As long as USC and Stanford alternate playing ND that weekend, one (or three) conference teams will have to have that week off – unless one more Pac-12 team schedules a non-conference game that week. If two teams have non-con games that week, then nobody has to get stuck with a bye that week.
Who could be the second Pac-12 team playing a non-conference game that week? Two possibilities:
-- USC and Stanford could agree to find another non-conference opponent or have a bye for that weekend in the years when they don't host Notre Dame that weekend. That seems fair given that their scheduling of ND is what causes this problem in the first place.
-- Utah could play BYU that weekend. When both were in the same conference they always played their "Holy War" game at the end of November. This might be the easiest "fix".
Which of those options is best? Take the poll...
EDIT: One more thought about the Thanksgiving week bye: If you hate it this year, you might get another chance to hate it again next year. As I noted in the comments, the way the conference office set up the schedule, UCLA would have had the Thanksgiving week bye while USC played ND and all the other conference rivalry games were played that week -- except that Cal and Stanford refused to play the Big Game on Thanksgiving week, so Stanford is playing UCLA instead and Cal is getting the bye. If the schedule is structured the same way for 2013, a year in which Stanford plays ND that week, the conference might very well give Cal the Thanksgiving week bye for a second year in a row.
What should the Pac-12 do to avoid forcing one of its football teams to have a bye in the last week of the regular season?
Make USC and Stanford find another non-conference opponent, or have a bye for that weekend in the years when they don't host Notre Dame that weekend. (18 votes)
Let Utah play BYU that weekend, so that no Pac-12 teams have to be off that week. (45 votes)
Just make some unlucky team play 12 consecutive weeks and end their season a week early. (10 votes)
73 total votes