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.
It is uncertain exactly how this schedule was made available to the public, but Todd Husak, who provides color commentary for Stanford football’s radio broadcasts, tweeted a picture of a screenshot of the schedule at 7:51 p.m. on Wednesday night, saying “Look @StanfordFball schedule for 2013. Great slate of home games, but a brutal stretch to end the season.” The supposed schedule contains at least one error, as it shows Stanford playing at California, while the 116th Big Game is due to be played at Stanford Stadium.
A link to a short clip announcing Stanford Football’s schedule appeared briefly on the Pac-12 web site Wednesday night, which is when Husak posted the screenshot to Twitter, but it has since been taken down. No mention of the leaked schedule or other postings appear to have circulated on the Internet at this time, and all of the Pac-12’s other schedules remain blank for the upcoming football season.
The schedule lists Stanford as kicking off the season with a home game against San Jose State on Saturday, September 7. In an alternating home-away format that continues throughout the season, Stanford then plays at Army, home for Arizona State, at Washington State, home for Washington and at Utah.
Then things get interesting.
Starting October 19th, the schedule has Stanford playing a stretch to rival anything the SEC goes through in conference play: home for UCLA, at Oregon State, home for Oregon on November 7th for what is ostensibly a nationally-televised Thursday night game, at USC, at Cal, and finishing on November 30th with a home game against Notre Dame.
Led by Oregon and Notre Dame, which were No. 2 and No. 4 respectively in the final AP ranking, five of the six teams are likely to be ranked in the top-25 to open next season.
The game against California is almost certain to be incorrect, at least in that the traditional rotation means that Stanford would host the 116th Big Game, not play on the road against the Golden Bears as is listed on the schedule.
There is also somewhat of another obvious oddity in that the Pac-12 Championship Game is set for December 7th, a Saturday. The first two Pac-12 Championship Games have both been played on Fridays.
However the poor attendance when Stanford beat UCLA to win the 2012 Pac-12 Championship front of a crowd of just 31,622 that was hampered by the 5 p.m. start time on a Friday evening could have persuaded Pac-12 officials to adjust the schedule accordingly. (Most of the major conferences play their conference championships on the first Saturday in December.)
Four of the games on the schedule are highlighted in yellow–home against UCLA on October 19th, home against Oregon on November 7th, at Cal on November 23rd and home against Notre Dame on November 30th–perhaps implying national television exposure, but no start times are listed for any of the games and in the past most games have had flexible starts that were only determined a week or so in advance.
The schedule, if accurate, is much more favorable to Stanford fans than it was in 2012, particularly the students. Stanford played three home games before classes were in session, including a rivalry game against USC that was a nationally televised showdown between two top-25 teams. In addition, Oregon, Notre Dame and Cal are always big draws for Stanford fans and all three games will be played at home in 2013.