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Why isn’t this year’s home schedule filled with marquee opponents like last year’s was? 
We have received some feedback that the 2014 home schedule isn’t as compelling as 2013’s. Stanford enjoyed a phenomenal home schedule which included five nationally-ranked opponents in addition to in-state rivals Cal and San Jose State. As football programs ebb and flow around the country, schedules like that simply don’t occur very often and are impossible to forecast when conferences compile schedules.

Implications of the Pac-12 schedule provides even-year home schedules that largely include these same opponents – the only variation being that we play Arizona State/ Utah and Arizona/Colorado on two-year rotational schedules. As such, our season ticket holders understand that this year’s Pac-12 home schedule including USC, Washington State, Oregon State is the same as it was in 2012 – with the only change being Utah instead of Arizona. Equally, the 2015 home schedule will again see annual visits from Cal, Oregon, UCLA and Washington in addition to Colorado (in place of 2013 opponent Arizona State.)

It is important to note that the overall scheduling agreement is favorable for Stanford. Despite many factors, the Pac-12 schedule is designed with an accommodation that allows us to play USC, UCLA (in the Pac-12 South) every year, as well as Notre Dame.

What are the highlights of the 2014 schedule?
While it remains early to forecast all programs in 2014, the 2014 schedule offers many highlights:

Sept. 17, 2005. That is an uncomfortable date for Cardinal fans. It marks the last time Stanford played UC Davis with the Aggies emerging from Stanford Stadium with a 20-17 victory. The revenge factor looms large here for Cardinal fans and the Aggie program has picked off other victories along the way. UC Davis defeated David Shaw’s San Diego program in 2006 and also upset San Jose State in 2010.

An Army game should not be missed. Any game involving the Cadets offers pageantry and national pride. With the team’s unique style of play which results in perennial national rushing titles, Stanford’s young defense will have its hands full. Army also made an impressive coaching hire this offseason, hiring Jeff Monken to lean the program. Monken comes to West Point after leading football-happy Georgia Southern, a program that excelled under his triple-option teachings. Last season Monken’s GSU Eagles pulled off a convincing 26-20 victory at Florida in “The Swamp” by running for 429 yards.

USC’s new head coach is none other than Steve Sarkisian and this matchup has been among the premier games to watch on the national scene ever since Stanford’s dramatic victory over the then-No. 1 Trojans in 2007.

Washington State offers the pass-happy teachings of offensive guru Mike Leach – whose beliefs are demonstrated by the Cougars attempting (756) and completing (470) more passes than any other program in 2013.

Oregon State offers a compelling matchup for the Cardinal. Stanford needed a goal line stand to survive the Beavers last year in Corvallis, Ore. Stanford’s victory put OSU into a freefall but, after coming within a point of knocking off Oregon (36-35 loss), the team ended its season on a high note by blasting Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl. Additionally, the Beavers finished third nationally in passing offense – one slot ahead of Washington State.

Utah will mark Stanford’s final regular season home game and revenge also plays a factor in this game as the Utes played arguably their best game in a 27-21 upset of Stanford last year. The Utes were incredibly tough in the Pac-12, which was, by far, the nation’s toughest conference in 2013. In addition to a victory over a very good BYU team, Utah lost games by one score against South Division powers UCLA and Arizona State.

Why is Stanford playing three home games before students return to campus for fall classes?
We agree that the 2014 schedule is unfortunate for student attendance. We remain extraordinarily committed to the student experience at sports events. We provide free admission to all students for all home events, and offer heavily subsidized access to bowl games and other postseason events.

Even during last year’s Thanksgiving Day weekend game against Notre Dame, we saw impressive attendance from students. Students who are able to attend any or all of our first three home games will have a positive impact on Stadium atmosphere.

It is important to note that scheduling on a conference level is a complex undertaking with many factors, which are addressed below.

Why are we playing two Friday night games with the possibility of a third, should we be fortunate enough to play in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game?
The football schedule is established by the Pac-12 Conference and is the result of many factors such as homecomings, required non-Saturday games and bye weeks.

Why do we have a bye in the middle of September and another at the beginning of November?
As noted earlier, the football schedule is established by the Pac-12 Conference. The bye schedule for 2014 is much more favorable to Stanford than it was in 2013. Last year, we didn’t have a true bye week with the team starting a week later than most schools while also hosting a rare Thursday night game.

Why aren’t kickoff times made available when the schedule is announced? Will night games be played again in 2014? Why does television seem so important to schools in the scheduling process?
The topic of game times are carefully considered by schools and conference offices. While some kickoff times are known by the summer months, many games are subject to selection in a window of six-to-12 days before kickoff. The current schedule reflects the new reality in college football and is in alignment with what our other peer conferences are doing. These selections by television networks are not a new fad. For the last 20+ years, we have been doing picks for some of our games. However we acknowledge that it is getting more attention now because most games are subject to a pick.

We must remember that on any given week the Pac-12 Conference has upwards of 12 football games, all of which are televised. The real challenge for the conference is slotting those games into a single day with an occasional Thursday or Friday night. Because of this, it is important to be mindful that night games are a reality on both coasts.

In 2013 our football team played 14 games, of which we had 12 different start times. We had four games beginning at 7 p.m. or later, four games beginning at 2 p.m. or earlier and the remaining six games being played between 3-6 p.m. 

Every kickoff time has real, positive and negative, ramifications on segments of our fan base as well as our student-athletes, staff and the broader university community – both in the delicate balance between fans in the seats and eyes on the screens.  From young families to those participating in youth sports and artistic endeavors, and for alumni young and old to fans driving in from several hours away, each segment has passionate views on “proper” kickoff times. We must juggle those issues along with schedules for our 35 other sports and within the context of our conference’s master TV schedules.

How is pricing determined for season tickets?
Prices for Stanford football season tickets offer exceptional value in terms of both the on-field and atmospheric product as well as in the Bay Area event market.

Pricing is reviewed annually with input from numerous areas. Pricing in 2014 is unchanged for five of the eight pricing tiers with modest increases to some sideline sections as well as the popular Family Plan. This season a family of four (2 adults/2 youth) can attend Stanford games at an average price of $16.50 per person per game.

Prices reflect the exceptionally strong demand for tickets with all pricing tiers selling out last season for our two-time defending Pac-12 Conference champions. The stand-alone value for season ticket holders is bolstered by obtaining priority access to highly sought-after postseason games as well as regular season road games.