If you’re a fan of the Stanford or Cal football teams, the regular season schedule has always been a build-up to the Big Game. It’s the biggest game on the schedule. It’s about school pride and bragging rights.
Up until recently, the Big Game has been the final game of the season for both teams.
In 2008, Cal’s schedule looked strange when Stanford was not the final game of the year. In 2009, Stanford started scheduling a game after the Cal game.
For fans of the two teams, this was sacrilegious. The schedule just didn’t look right.
But it’s about to get worse. The Pac-12 released the 2012 football schedule and the Big Game will be played on October 20th.
Yes, you read that correctly. OCTOBER. Not November.
For Cal, it’s the eighth game of the season, and they play FOUR games after the Big Game. For Stanford, it’s the seventh game of the season and they will play FIVE more games after the battle it out for The Axe.
So why is there such a dramatic overhaul of the schedule? You can blame the new Conference Championship game, the addition of numerous nationally televised Thursday night games to the Pac-12 schedule, and the reluctance of teams to schedule rivalry games on Thanksgiving weekend, when students are on vacation.
In a statement released by Cal, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said that both Cal and Stanford opposed the approved schedule and that she does not expect the 2012 schedule to be the norm. She went on to say that she will work to return the Big Game to the end of the regular season.
Stanford’s Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby added his own comments: “We will work with California and the Pac-12 Office to advocate for the Big Game and all rivalry games be schedule toward the end of the season in future years.”
The greed of university leaders to expand conferences is killing one of the best things about college football: the tradition. Let’s hope that Barbour and Bowlsby can restore some order to the chaos and return the Big Game to its rightful place at the end of November.