The 2012 Big Game will be unlike any in the event's 114-year history.
It will be played in October.
Scheduling complications tied to Pac-12 Conference expansion have moved next season's Cal-Stanford game in Berkeley to Oct. 20 -- a full month before it's usually played.
The schools aren't happy about it, and neither are the fans.
"I'm disappointed," said Gary Tyrrell, best known as the Stanford trombone player who got run over at the end of the 1982 Big Game.
"I'm a great fan of the buildup to the game throughout the season. By having the game this early, less than a month after Stanford starts classes, the upperclassmen will barely have time to get the freshmen adequately brainwashed to hate Cal ahead of game time."
"I'll miss it," said John Bowman, a 1993 Cal graduate. "Even during the leanest years, a victory over Stanford in late November helped salvage many a lost season."
This year's Big Game will be smack in the middle of the season for both schools. Stanford will have played at Notre Dame the previous week; Cal will be coming off a trip to Washington State.
The earliest the Big Game has been played is Nov. 8.
Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour said she was "very disappointed in the decision."
The October date "was certainly not our first choice," Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby said. "But the conference is governed by the will of the majority."
The Pac-12 created three potential
Bowlsby and Barbour supported the schedule with the Big Game on Nov. 17 and, for numerous reasons, were adamantly opposed to playing Thanksgiving weekend.
"There are dozens, if not hundreds, of events on both campuses that are tied to the Big Game," Bowlsby said. "With both schools on break, Thanksgiving week won't work."
But the schedule with the Big Game on Nov. 17 was rejected by the majority of the league's athletic directors because it caused too many issues for other teams.
"We made every effort to create a schedule that would allow the Big Game to be played at the end of the season," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. "Cal and Stanford were clear that they did not want to play the Big Game Thanksgiving week, so we presented additional options to our member institutions for discussion and a vote."
In a statement, Cal said it hopes that the 2012 situation will be the exception, not the norm for the Big Game. But there's a good chance at least one Pac-12 rivalry game will be moved up in future years.
The conference has limited flexibility with the schedule because of several factors:
"There will be additional priorities that need to be balanced when making the schedule that mean occasional date adjustments to rivalry games," Scott said.