There has been a small but significant change to next year’s football schedule. The following is (I’m told) the latest schedule; no word on if other changes might be forthcoming.
Sept. 1 Tennessee
Sept. 8 @ Colorado State (Ft. Collins, CO.)
Sept. 15 Louisiana Tech
Sept. 22 Arizona
Sept. 29 @ Oregon
Oct. 6 BYE (was @ Washington)
Oct. 13 OSU
Oct. 20 @ UCLA
Oct. 27 @ ASU
Nov. 3 WSU
Nov. 10 U$C
Nov. 17 @ Washington (was @ Stanfurd)
Nov. 24 BYE (Thanksgiving weekend)
Dec. 1 @ Stanfurd (was BYE)
So, Cal has taken an impacted schedule (12 games in 12 weeks) and stretched it out, adding two BYEs, one of which (in early October) is actually helpful.
Now, while playing Stanfurd in December after a week off isn’t the greatest idea in the world, it seems like a natural consequence of playing a 12 game schedule (the pros and cons of which I won’t discuss here). It’s certainly better than the alternative (no BYEs). The Big 10 had 12 games in 12 weeks this year, and it hurt them in a couple ways. First, no BYEs (although playing Buffalo in early November has to be pretty close to a week off). More significantly, it meant they were done playing two weeks before everyone else, which gave Florida time (and media momentum) to overcome Michigan and move into the National Championship Game.
Of course, the Big 10 doesn’t have a choice, as no one wants to play a football game in Michigan in early December - ever notice how Notre Dame always finishes the season playing AT USC or AT Stanfurd? But here in California, a Big Game in December wasn’t so bad; in fact, this past year we had gorgeous (if windy) weather. I hope that the schedule-makers continue to make this kind of change in the future.