Sports

It's a Big Game scheduling surprise for 2012

The Big Game hasn't always been the final game scheduled but it was usually one of Stanford's final two games and played in November.

Scrap another tradition to television and the new economics of a 'Super Conference.'

The Big Game will be played on Saturday, October 20 in Berkeley, continuing a stretch that will see the Cardinal play five of its last seven games on the road as the Pac-12 announced next year's football schedule on Wednesday.

"The October 20 date for Big Game is 2012 is certainly not our first choice but the conference is governed by the will of the majority and we have a duty to respect the outcome of the vote," Stanford Director of Athletics Bob Bowlsby said. "We will work with California and the Pac-12 Office to advocate for the Big Game and all rivalry games to be scheduled toward the end of the season in future years."

Stanford, which lost the Fiesta Bowl, 41-38, in overtime, will open the season with a home game against San Jose State on Sept. 1.

Duke (Sept. 8) and USC (Sept. 15) will follow the Spartans into Stanford Stadium in the ensuing weeks, giving the Cardinal three home games to open the season.

The Trojans will be playing at Stanford before the students arrive, another glitch in the schedule.

Following a bye week on Sept. 22, Stanford travels to Washington.

After Arizona visits Stanford Stadium on Oct. 6, the Cardinal resumes its long nonconference rivalry with Notre Dame in South Bend on Oct. 13.

Washington State will be at Stanford Stadium on Oct. 27, followed by a trip to Boulder on Nov. 3 for a game with Colorado.

After Stanford entertains Oregon State on Nov. 10, the Cardinal will face the Oregon Ducks in Eugene on Nov. 17.

Stanford will wrap up the regular season on Nov. 24 at UCLA.

The second annual Pac-12 Championship game will be played on Nov. 30 at the home field of the team with the best overall conference record.

"Very, very disappointing about Big Game," said Menlo School Athletic Director Craig Schoof, a Stanford alum. "Says so much about what college sports has become, tradition goes out the window for the all-mighty dollar. I will be interested to see how it 'feels' in October. Got to admit it has felt weird the last few years with a game after it as well, but in mid-season just seems so wrong. Definitely going to take some of the specialness out of the event."

With the new ESPN and FOX media rights agreement as well as the launch of the Pac-12 Networks in August, every Pac-12 football game will be available to fans on a national clearance, eliminating regional distribution which was prevalent in the prior broadcast arrangements.

There will be 44 games on the combination of ESPN's family of networks, Fox Broadcast and FX, while 34 games are scheduled to air on the Pac-12 Networks. Exact broadcast schedules will be determined at a later date.

The schedule includes eight Thursday and Friday specialty dates for ESPN and FOX. Dates during the first two weeks of the non-conference schedule are still being adjusted to accommodate television commitments.

"The one thing we heard loud and clear from fans across the Conference is they want to see their teams play every week," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. "Starting in 2012 fans can see all games throughout the country."

This decision, of course, doesn't sit well with a lot of Stanford alums.

"It's part of what I call 'the Development Complex,' where everything at the university has a price tag associated with it; the prime consideration is to increase the endowment, tradition be damned," said one alum, who wished to remain anonymous. "This is an arms race, and if Stanford wants to keep hoisting the Directors' Cup each June, then it will keep making decisions based on what's best for the bottom line, because we are not competing with Harvard ($20 billion endowment) but with Nike (Oregon), Dreamworks (USC) and Mesa Petroleum (Oklahoma State).

"It is yet another step in the ultimate takeover of college athletics by Big Money. When was the last time an Athletic Director said 'no' to TV exposure (and the payday that comes with it)? Can't have a football playoff because it will cut into class time? Then what about March Madness? Playing college football games at night, on Thursdays or Mondays, completely disregards the feelings of the players, the alumni, and the potential fans (how many young kids did you see in the Big Game in the 2nd half?). Rivalries? Who cares when there is more money to be made (to support all the Assistant-Associate-Junior-Vice-Deputy-Directors of Athletics, and to build the buildings to house them).

"The original Pac 8 turns into the Pac-10 and then becomes the Pac-12, signs a lucrative new media deal -- even creates its own network! -- and yet there will always be sports on the bubble for being cut because there isn't enough

money."

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING:

"I'm a Cal alum and am stunned that the Pac-12 schedulers ignored the traditional rivalries -- and am disappointed beyond belief that one of the oldest rivalries in the country was so completely disregarded. Big Game in October? That completely disrupts the rhythm of the football season. What happened with the Apple Cup and the Civil War? Or UCLA and USC?

--Theresa Carey, Palo Alto

"I think it takes away from the luster of the game and rivalry. Just like the Ohio State vs. Michigan game being the last one of the year the fact that Cal and Stanford played late in the season increased the feeling that it was meaningful. Move it back!

--Ryan Mindigo, Los Altos

"I think this benefits Cal because they always start off strong and then go down hill. Stanford usually goes the other way."

--Robert Cummings, San Carlos

2012 STANFORD FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

DATE OPPONENT

Sept. 1 vs. San Jose St.

Sept. 8 vs. Duke

Sept. 15 vs. USC

Sept. 27 at Washington

Oct. 6 vs. Arizona

Oct. 13 at Notre Dame

Oct. 20 at California

Oct. 27 at Washington St.

Nov. 3 at Colorado

Nov. 10 vs. Oregon St.

Nov. 17 at Oregon

Nov. 24 at UCLA

Nov. 30 Pac-12 title game

Game times to be determined

— Palo Alto Online Sports

Comments

Posted by John, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm

"With the new ESPN and FOX media rights agreement as well as the launch of the Pac-12 Networks in August, every Pac-12 football game will be available to fans on a national clearance, eliminating regional distribution which was prevalent in the prior broadcast arrangements."

I'm sure those were the words of the press release, but I don't know what it means, and I suspect a lot of other people don't either. Please think about when such explanations might be necessary.


Posted by one percent, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm

What it means is that the rich will get richer, while ordinary Americans get shafted again.


Posted by no surprise, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Football, football, football. Can't these people learn anything from the focus on Penn State football program operations...like a monster that got too big and controlled the school, as the wider public has learned (aside from the alleged sexual misdeeds there)
I read another story on this which made it clear the two schools, Stanford and Cal, want the most $$$ and will go for it along with the rest of their league(a not ideal schedule disregarding tradition w/regards to the Big Game) - kind of takes away from the academics at these two schools.
I am not affiliated with either of these schools.
I am one of those people who thinks academics should come first at any university, but I gather I am in the minority. One thing that is interesting is the schools that either don't have football or that have gotten rid of it. Sure, they pay a price, but they get my respect...


Posted by Bob, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 6, 2012 at 8:12 pm

The Pac12 should schedule games WHEN THE STUDENTS ARE BACK IN SCHOOL!!
Stanford and USC won't even start until after their game is played. This is not the NFL. The is college football. About two years ago, UCLA and Stanford played each other around Labor Dad weekend. Ridiculous. And now there is rumbling that Stanford and NOtre Dame will play each other -----in China. Come on!!


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2012 at 6:29 am

Somewhat false. USC is on the semester system and they start school in mid-August.


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