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Golden Nuggets: Sandy Barbour Explains the Fiasco that is Cal Football's 2012 Schedule

As most of you know, the Pac-12 schedule was released earlier this week. Few fanbases are as disappointed in the schedule as Cal fans, who have to put up with both an October rivalry game and a schedule with no bye weeks. Anticipating some outcry, Sandy Barbour sent out an explanation for why the Big Game is in October. Apparently the only other option was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, an offer they did not want to put on the table.

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.
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.

Why not play the Big Game on Thanksgiving Weekend?
As all Cal fans know, the Big Game is more than just a football game played on a Saturday in the fall. The buildup to the annual contest includes a weeklong list of events - from the Cable Car Rally in San Francisco on Mondays to the Bonfire Rally at the Greek Theatre on Friday nights, not to mention the series of alumni luncheons and dinners, including the Guardsman Luncheon, and the annual Laugh Your Axe Off student comedy show.

To hold the Big Game on Thanksgiving weekend would mean that many of these beloved activities would have to be eliminated because so many of our ticket holders, particularly our students, want to spend time away with their families during this period.

After the jump the men's team could have used some of the women's team's excellent defense as Cal basketball splits its games against Oregon State.