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Football: Big Game on . . . Oct. 20!

By Jeff Faraudo
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 at 2:34 pm in Football, Pac-12 news, Scheduling.

The Pac-12 Conference release the 2012 football schedule today and nothing jumps off the Cal calendar as much as an Oct. 20 date for the Big Game at refurbished Memorial Stadium.

The game will be the eighth on Cal’s 12-game slate — the first time the Big Game ever has been played before November.

“I am very disappointed that these challenges have resulted in the moving of our rivalry game with Stanford – one of the longest standing traditions in all of college football – away from its proper place and time in the rhythm of the football season,” Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour said in a statement.

“I believe that college football is unique, in large part, because of traditions like the Big Game, and we believe that those traditions should be carefully protected.”

Barbour added that both Cal and Stanford opposed the scheduling model that placed the Big Game so early. They favored a schedule that had the game set for Nov. 17. But the league’s 12 athletic directors approved one of the other proposed plans.

All four of the other traditional old Pac-10 rivalries — USC-UCLA, Arizona-Arizona State, Oregon-Oregon State and Washington-Washington State — are scheduled for Nov. 17 or later.

The Bears will open the new Memorial Stadium on Sept. 1 against Nevada, then will play at home Sept. 8 against Southern Utah.

Cal visits Ohio State on Sept. 15 before kicking off its Pac-12 schedule Sept. 22 at USC — a killer back-to-back road assignment.

The Bears play Sept. 29 at home against Arizona State, then Oct. 6 at home vs. UCLA before trekking to Washngton State on Oct. 13.

Following the Big Game, Cal plays Oct. 27 at Utah, then Friday, Nov. 2 at home vs. Washington and on Nov. 10 at home vs. Oregon.

The regular season ends Nov. 17 at Oregon State.

Here is Cal’s news release on the schedule including a Q&A with Sandy Barbour and the Pac-12 release with the full conference schedule.

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  • rollonubears

    Utter stupidity.

  • gobears49

    Total BS. I was unhappy enough that some recent Cal games against Stanford were not the last game of the year. This is much worse. The Pac 12 officials were sensible enough to leave the traditional games against USC and UCLA on the schedule. Why can’t they respect tradition enough to make sure the biggest traditional game is the last game of the season.

    Some reporter needs to ask Sandy Barbour and the Pac 12 officials why it would not make sense to first schedule, and for many years out, the traditional games FIRST and then schedule all of the other games second. Also, why it is that all of the other traditional games are the last ones of the year but not Cal and Stanford. But I don’t know how this all works — Cal has some games scheduled years in advance, as I read that Cal is scheduled to play Texas in 2015 and 2016, presumably with a set date. Are the Texas and other games scheduled years in advance but not Stanford. If so, why not the Stanford game as well?

    At the very least, someone needs to explain in detail how this happened.

  • milo

    Retarded is what it is.

  • Juancho

    This is stupid. Apparent Sandy Barbour isn’t a Cal graduate or Cal person. She’s a business person.

  • Sean

    Wonder if it’s more the result of TV scheduling interference than stoopidity…

  • discdude

    Read the press release from Cal, Barbour objected, as did Furd, but they lost the vote. End of story.

    From Wilner’s article: Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour said she was “very disappointed” in the decision but added: “Although Cal and Stanford were opposed to the schedule that was ultimately adopted because of the placement of the Big Game, we remain a full participant in the conference’s decision-making and governance process.”

    Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby said the Oct. 20 date “is certainly not our first choice but the conference is governed by the will of the majority.”

  • wehofx

    Lame.

  • H8sRed

    Big game is the only rivalry game not being played in the last two weeks of the season, and Cal is the only team not to have a bye in its schedule. Ridiculous!

    Apparently it’s more important to appease a non-conference opponent (Notre Dame) than to make sure all Pac-12 member schools are treated fairly.

  • gobears49

    On a side note, the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, who Cal plays next year, were 6 and 6 last season, beating up on Sac St. and UNLV, the latter probably the biggest football school they played, though maybe that could be Northern Iowa.

    Sat, Sep 03 South Dakota State - - Brookings, S.D. 28 – 29 (L)
    STATS NOTES KSUU
    Sat, Sep 10 Sacramento State - - Cedar City, Utah 35 – 14 (W)
    STATS NOTES KSUU Play Video Clip Live Stats
    Sat, Sep 17 Texas-San Antonio (HC) - - Cedar City, Utah 45 – 22 (W)
    STATS NOTES KSUU Play Video Clip Live Stats
    Sat, Sep 24 UNLV - - Las Vegas, Nev. 41 – 16 (W)
    STATS NOTES KSUU Play Video Clip
    Sat, Oct 01 North Dakota * 17 24 Cedar City, Utah 20 – 26 (L)
    STATS NOTES KSUU Live Stats
    Sat, Oct 08 South Dakota * 22 18 Vermillion, S.D. 19 – 24 (L)
    STATS NOTES KSUU Play Video Clip
    Sat, Oct 15 Cal Poly * - - San Luis Obispo, Calif. 27 – 31 (L)
    STATS NOTES KSUU
    Sat, Oct 22 Weber State - - Ogden, Utah 35 – 28 (W)
    STATS NOTES KSUU Play Video Clip
    Sat, Oct 29 UC Davis * - - Cedar City, Utah 34 – 3 (W)
    STATS NOTES KSUU Play Video Clip Live Stats
    Sat, Nov 12 Northern Iowa - 5 Cedar Falls, Iowa 21 – 34 (L)
    STATS NOTES KSUU
    Sat, Nov 19 Northern Arizona - - Flagstaff, Ariz. 27 – 24 (W)
    NOTES KSUU Live Stats

  • gobears49

    Correction, Southern Utah was 6 and 5.

  • joey

    So lame. Screw the Pac 12.

  • Bears

    Pretty weak that Big Game is moved but at end of day I’ll be happy as long as we win.
    Pac is stupid for not finding a way to play all traditional rivalry games on same weekend.
    A non conference opponent should never dictate a move for these rivalry games. Looks like ND and tree trumped Big Game.
    Someone needs to answer for that.

  • milo

    Larry Scott needs to get on his freakin’ horse and get 4 other teams to join the “other division” so we can have the original Pac-8 again. An 8 team division can manage rivalries properly.

  • David

    Garbage

  • CalBearister

    Stanfurd is to blame for this. Ever since those w_ores signed up to play Notre Dame after Big Game, the tradition has slowly crumbled. A close second is Larry Scott, who has proved he is willing to screw the old Pac-8 schools to make a buck for the conference (See, e.g., the decision to place Utah and Colorado – both geographically north of Cal and Stanfurd – in the South Division).

    On the other hand, Texas-Oklahoma is a great rivalry, and they play in October. We will survive. F___ Stanfurd, and F___ Larry Scott.

  • jabes

    Agreed CalB. Except, Larry Scott also delivered the TV Eyeballs and $$ that are upgrading the conference across the board to our benefit. Personally I’ve lost the taste for beating bad teams at home, and the bowl system is beyond repair. I’m very happy at the prospect of attending five competitive games at CMS every year (including the Big-10 partnership).

    Assuming the Pac12 stays with 9 conference games, how are the furd going to incorporate ND and a Big10 game into their schedule? My guess is they don’t, and we’ll have the Big Game back where it belongs in the long term.

  • gobears49

    CalBearister,

    I agree with you that Stanford playing Notre Dame after Cal set the precedent for this, though I’m not sure it had anything to do with moving the Cal – Stanford game to October.

    As far as I remember, and I’m in my sixties, the Texas – Oklahoma game is always played during the middle of the season, so that is not a precedent for moving the Cal – Stanford game, nomally played at the end of the season, to October.

    I agree with you will survive, but that is not the point. We can survive anything, as long as we play in the Pac 12 Conference. We could survive not playing USC and UCLA, too, but fortunately that has not come to pass, YET. The question is whether we should have to survive this. I don’t think so, especially when it has not been explained as to why this has to happen.

    I am looking forward to reading the story of how this came about to happen from some writer up to the task. I don’t think that Faraudo is up to it, as I doubt it’s his thing — Jon Wilner may have to do it. He seems to be more of a detail guy.

  • gobears49

    I just sent my post above to Jon Wilner, a sports writer for the San Jose Mercury News, who covers Cal football and basketball extensively, to encourage him to write something about why this happened. Jon covered in great detail the lead-up to the Pac 12 dividing into two divisions and the scheduling of games that would occur. He’s probably the best person to get to the bottom of this so we will know why this happened.

  • Disappointed Bear

    I agree that this is wrong and hope it is (as stated) the exception and not the rule going forward. Guess we’ll see…

  • discdude

    Huh CalBearister? Stanfurd is playing ND the week before Cal. Maybe a few times in the past…but you are definitely on the right track. Notre Dame is absolutely to blame for some of this. They released their 2012 schedule in 2010! (all bow down to the mighty ND). So having those 2 games locked into those dates means they can’t be changed. Otherwise, picking up at least a bye is easy (switch the Cal-SC game with Cal-ND, for example). And maybe they could get the Big Game into November, too.

    Moving forward, Scott needs to not let Furd and SC lock those games in, otherwise the P12 is appeasing those 2 teams for out of conferences games of little importance (trust me, most SC fans couldn’t care lessa about ND), while also bending over for Notre Lame. Further, I think all the tirades against Scott are bunk, he’s the exact opposite of Hansen (who did nothing), and everything will work out. I willing to bet that in 2013, the Big Game will be back in November.

  • discdude

    Uh, obviously that meant to read “switch the Cal-SC game with SC-ND”. Can we get an edit function?

  • gobears49

    Cal and Stanford could have avoided this if they had negotiated what Ohio State and Michigan had negotiated to insure they played each other on the last game of the season. Here is what Mark Purdy, sportswriter for the San Jose Mercury, recently wrote about the Cal – Stanford game being moved, after noting the both the Cal AD (Sandy Barbour) and the Stanford AD (Bowlsby) indicated they had opposed the decision to move the Cal – Stanford game to October –

    “All very eloquent. But here is what Stanford and Cal administrators aren’t saying: They could have avoided this situation by caring less about the overall financial windfall during last year’s expansion/television negotiations.”

    “The Big Ten, for example, has faced a similar realignment. Michigan and Ohio State were even put in separate divisions of the revised league. But both schools demanded that their annual November matchup be declared a ‘protected crossover’ game that would always be the final regular season game. The Big Ten assented.”

    “Stanford and Cal could have firmly made the same demand — although it likely would have cost the conference some major revenue because UCLA-USC and Oregon-Oregon State would have surely made similar stipulations. But the television people were offering huge money and wanted as much flexibility as possible. Or else the money would be less huge. Guess what the decision was?”

    “Hope the Stanford and Cal presidents are proud and happy. They lost a wonderful tradition. But they gain ‘national clearance’ and fuller bank accounts. The pleasure becomes more guilty. Every year.”

    Here’s the whole article if you want to read it, which is quite good and discusses some of the other problems which the new Pac-12 and its TV contract has caused.

    http://www.marinij.com/ci_19677681

    What I would like someone to answer is this — other than the TV contract that was signed, why couldn’t Pac-12 teams have committed to play their traditional rivals 20, 30, or even 50 years in advance on specific days during the year and then leave it for the future to schedule the remainder of their games.

    If this were done, then maybe it would make it more difficult for Stanford to play Notre Dame every other year (or every other year, I forget which) and USC to play Notre Dame every year. But if you asked Stanford fans if they would be willing to give up playing Notre Dame to assure that they could play Cal every year the last week of the season, I think they would overwhelming choose to the latter. I also think USC would prefer to lock in UCLA as the last game of the year even if it meant hurting their yearly rivalry with Notre Dame, though that might be a closer call, given USC’s domination of UCLA in recent years and its closer match-ups with Notre Dame, a game which has a colorful history.

    I’m looking forward to what other readers think of Mr. Purdy’s comments.