The Stanford University Athletic Department claims to have three rivals: Cal, USC and Notre Dame. Cardinal football has played these three teams a combined 233 times, and it would not be the same program without these opponents. That much we can say for sure.
Over the last two years, NCAA violations have given me a whole lot to write about: how Stanford’s academics-first approach casts doubt on pay-for-play systems for collegiate athletes, how sanctions like those at Ohio State often harm fan bases and entire institutions instead of the perpetrators within the violating athletic department and how USC’s postseason ban made a mockery of the inaugural Pac-12 Title Game.
Stanford’s 2013 football schedule may have been accidentally released Wednesday evening, although not officially by the Pac-12, and it appears as though the road back to Pasadena—the host site for next year’s BCS National Championship Game—will be anything but easy for the Cardinal.