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Worst Fears Realized: Big Game in October 2012 and USC-Stanford Played Before Classes Start

This is probably the worst possible schedule that Stanford could have got for the 2012 regular season. The Pac-12 released its 2012 football schedule today, and it is disappointing, to say the least.

First up, Big Game, as rumored, has been moved up in the schedule to October 20. While it is the highlight of the Pac-12 schedule for that weekend, it will go up against the revival of the A&M-LSU rivalry and the Third Saturday in October game (Alabama-Tennessee). Even though I think some of us can live with moving it up a week or so, moving it that early in the season is not what anyone wanted, Cal fan or Stanford fan. I think people will find it pretty mindblowing that it is very well possible that fans could be wearing shorts and t-shirts to a Big Game, the first ever played in October.

With the move of Big Game, Pac-12 officials did other maneuvering of the schedule. Since 2006 with the advent of the 12-game schedule, Stanford has always played at least one of its final two games at home. That is not the case this year: Stanford opens Thanksgiving break in Eugene followed by ending the regular season at UCLA. The final home game is in mid-November.

Next, there is a Thursday night game. Granted, it's an away game (against UW in Seattle), it happens three days after fall quarter begins. Good luck, techies, finding time to find a television and finish your first problem set that night.

Finally, as I've long preached against since last spring, the Stanford-USC game happens in the third weekend of the season. In fact, the first three weekends of September are Stanford home games before students even step on campus. This is followed by Stanford's lone bye week of the season on September 22. For a season that sees only six home games (in which USC is the lone "big" home game), this is extremely disappointing.

After the jump, Stanford's complete schedule.

Home games in italics

09/03 - SJSU @ Stanford
09/08 - Duke @ Stanford
09/15 - USC @ Stanford

09/22 - BYE
09/27 - Stanford @ Washington (Thursday night game)
10/06 - Arizona @ Stanford
10/13 - Stanford @ Notre Dame
10/20 - Stanford @ Cal
10/27 - Washington State @ Stanford
11/03 - Stanford @ Colorado
11/10 - Oregon State @ Stanford
11/17 - Stanford @ Oregon
11/24 - Stanford @ UCLA
11/30 - Pac-12 Championship game