The Pac-12 schedule for next year has been released. The biggest news? As we all dreaded, the Big Game is moving up.
This was speculated at for awhile ever since Cal and Furd couldn't come together and agree to have this football game as their season finale, particularly because of the Thanksgiving weekend. Since neither Cal nor Furd have played the Big Game as their last game for quite some time, it became a logical candidate for moving. If you want to blame someone, blame the recalcitrance of both programs to adapt to the modern day ways of football.
I'm sure there will be a lot of aggrieving on both sides of this. It's very annoying to disrupt tradition this much and then hope the team gets up for the rest of the schedule if they're not in competition for a conference title. Normally, I'm opposed to all such tinkering, but since Cal is looking to get the Axe back, this is one time I can live with a little disruption.
The bigger deal to me is that it looks as if Cal sacrifices their bye week for this arrangement. This is crap, Sandy. We are the ONLY team in the conference that has no bye week. 12 games up, 12 games down. Not cool at all, and if I were Tedford I'd be really angry at this schedule.
Can there be a bye week move so that we have a game Thanksgiving weekend? I'm guessing that no teams with rivalry games will want to be moved around to play a team in-conference, and the only non-rivalry game is Furd-UCLA. Moving that one up doesn't look feasible since UCLA and Furd don't have a coinciding bye week. There would have to be a lot of shifting.
After the jump, the schedule for next year, which includes our last OOC opponent (you will be really excited) and a Friday night football game at Memorial (almost certainly an ESPN telecast). Also, an official statement from Cal Athletics.
- Saturday, September 1: vs. Nevada Wolf Pack
- Saturday, September 8: vs. Southern Utah Thunderbirds (this looks bad until you look at the next two games)
- Saturday, September 15: at Ohio St. Buckeyes
- Saturday, September 22: at USC Trojans
- Saturday, September 29: vs. Arizona St. Sun Devils
- Saturday, October 6: vs. UCLA Bruins
- Saturday, October 13: at Washington St. Cougars (Pirates!)
- Saturday, October 20: The 115th Big Game
- Saturday, October 27: at Utah Utes
- Friday, November 2: vs. Washington Huskies
- Saturday, November 10: vs. Oregon Ducks
- Saturday, November 17: at Oregon St. Beavers
- Friday, November 30: Pac-12 Championship Game
UPDATE: Sandy Barbour has released an official statement. Here is the answer to the biggest question.
Why is the Big Game in October in 2012?
Playing the Big Game at the end of the regular season has been a Bay Area tradition for many, many years, one that fans and everyone within Cal Athletics would like to see continue. However, recent changes in the football landscape have made assembling a Pac-12 schedule more and more challenging.
The schedule for all conference games is decided by a vote of the league's athletic directors. For 2012, three football schedules were presented to the conference ADs for approval - one with the Big Game on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Schedule A with the game on Oct. 20 and Schedule B with the game on Nov. 17. Both Cal and Stanford favored Schedule B and lobbied for its acceptance. While this version kept the Big Game on a more traditional Saturday late in the season, other dates for conference games were significantly impacted.
In line with conference policy, the schedules were put to a vote among the 12 athletic directors, and the majority vote favored schedule A - which slots the Stanford-Cal game on Oct. 20.
The issue is not exclusive to the Big Game, as the scheduling complexity affects all games throughout the Pac-12. Among the factors making an impact are required bye weeks before Thursday-night games (there will be four such games next fall) and the number of available weeks to play a 12-game season between the Labor Day and Thanksgiving weekends.
We do not expect this 2012 scenario to be the norm, but an exception. The 2013 and other future schedules have not yet been approved by the conference, and Cal will do its best to help ensure the Big Game will be scheduled as close to the end of the season as possible.