BERKELEY, Calif. – When the 2012 Pac-12 Conference schedule was announced, there was one glaring change, placement of the Big Game between California and Stanford in mid-October instead of its usual spot at the end of November.
Now that rivalry week is actually here, there aren’t too many changes to the schedule of events around the game, aside from a few exceptions.
There will not be the traditional Friday night bonfire because the Greek Theatre is still setup to host concerts and would not be ready logistically, even if legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was not holding court there the night before the game. Instead, a rally at Edwards Stadium will be held in its place.
A joint press conference was cancelled, with both schools instead offering their usual game week media availability.
And the two head coaches will skip Wednesday afternoon’s Guardsmen, one of the few things the Golden Bears and Cardinal will agree on before Saturday.
“For Coach (David) Shaw and myself, we kind of agreed that was a very difficult time for us to do something,” Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said.
With both teams coming off road games, they also lost a day’s worth of preparation. Cal returned to campus from the Palouse at 5 a.m. Sunday morning, but Tedford was able to offer up some initial impressions of Stanford.
“They are a very physical football team obviously on both sides of the ball,” Tedford said, praising their tight ends and defensive front seven.
But Tedford didn’t render an opinion on whether he thought Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor got into the end zone on the controversial fourth-and-goal run in overtime of the 20-13 loss at Notre Dame.
“I don’t know,” said Tedford, who saw the play on the team plane returning from Pullman, Wash. “It’s hard to tell when they say his forward progress was stopped, when the play is over.”
Cornerback Steve Williams was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, becoming the second consecutive Cal defensive back to receive the honor after cornerback Kameron Jackson was recognized last week.
Williams set a new career-high with four pass breakups, intercepted a pass, and led the team with six tackles in the 31-17 win at Washington State.
Big Game Basketball
The Cal men’s and women’s basketball teams will hold an exhibition Saturday morning inside Memorial Stadium prior to the start of the Cal-Stanford football game.
Starting at 11 a.m., the two teams will go through a shoot-around and half-court shooting contest, among other activities, on a court that will be set up on Goldman Plaza.
Game tickets and autographed merchandise will be also given away during the 45-minute session.
Kickoff Set For Next Week
Cal’s game at Utah on Oct. 27 will kickoff at 6:45 p.m. Pacific, and broadcast on the Pac-12 Network Bay Area and Mountain channels.
Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and writes about the Pac-12 for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.