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.