September 7 - vs. San Jose State
September 14 - at Army
September 21 - vs. Arizona State
September 28 - at Washington State (CenturyLink Field, Seattle)
October 5 - vs. Washington
October 12 - at Utah
October 19 - vs. UCLA (Homecoming)
October 26 - at Oregon State
November 2 - BYE
November 7 - vs. Oregon
November 16 - at USC
November 23 - vs. Cal
November 30 - vs. Notre Dame
December 7 (Saturday) - Pac-12 Championship Game
Stanford has drawn an intriguing schedule that builds in intensity as the year progresses. Sure, there are early tests: San Jose State is coming off an 11-win season, while Arizona State returns monstrous defensive tackle Will Sutton for the first Farm Boy-Sun Devil showdown in three years to kick off the Pac-12 slate as Stanford students return to campus from summer vacation.
But the meat of the action seems to pile on the back half, particularly in what looks to be a treacherous November slate that is identical to the one Stanford faced to close the 2009 regular season. This can be particularly advantageous for a Cardinal program that has benefited from a superior strength and conditioning program as of late. A home game versus Oregon, a trip to USC, and consecutive home dates with Cal and Notre Dame lead into the December 7 Pac-12 Championship Game, which will be played on a Saturday for the first time in its history (broadcast rights are shifting to ESPN).
Both Stanford and Oregon will, by rule, enjoy bye weekends prior to their November 7 Thursday night showdown at Stanford Stadium. Unlike 2012's Pac-12 Championship Game, which saw sparse attendance on The Farm, fans should have plenty of advance notice to take off work before the main event, which is likely to kick off at 6 p.m.
The Cardinal travel to West Point, NY to face Army for the first time 1979 on September 14. That will be Stanford's first game against a military academy since Navy pounded them in the dark ages, administering a 37-9 2006 beating to open up the new Stanford Stadium. The Black Knights will pay a return visit to the West Coast in 2014. The all-time series between Stanford and Army is tied at five wins apiece.
David Shaw's club will travel to Utah for the first time since the conference's expansion October 12. Stanford will miss Arizona and Colorado in the 2013 Pac-12 schedule rotation, but the Cardinal will get to visit Oregon State October 26. Remember, that's immediately before Halloween, and the Beavers' colors are black and orange.
All in all, Stanford's home schedule is an intriguing one that should drum up fervent fan interest, much like the 2011 slate did when all but one game (San Jose State) was sold out. The Cardinal play seven of their 12 games at Stanford Stadium. Missing a struggling Colorado program may be seen as a tough break, but Arizona also isn't on the Farm Boys' schedule, and that can be considered an advantage in its own right after the Wildcats' spread passing attack torched the Cardinal for 491 yards in 2012.
Stanford's September 28 away game against Washington State will be held at Seattle's CenturyLink Field, the same stadium that saw the Cardinal lose 17-13 to the Washington Huskies this past season. Ironically, the Farm Boys will play the Dawgs the weekend after they leave Seattle -- back home at Stanford Stadium October 5. Reunion Homecoming is two weeks later, set for October 19 against UCLA.
David Lombardi is the Stanford Football Insider for The Bootleg and FOX Sports Next. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMLombardi.
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