A little balance finally greeted the Washington State football team on Wednesday when the Pac-12 released its 2012 schedule.
The welcome changes include just one instance of back-to-back road games, and a bye week at a more reasonable juncture of the season.
And as expected, the schedule also includes a novelty: for the first time since 1936, the Apple Cup will not be played on a Saturday. WSU and Washington are scheduled to play in Martin Stadium on Friday, Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving.
The Cougars’ Pac-12 opener will be against Colorado on Sept. 22 before another “home” game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle against Oregon the following week. WSU hosted Oregon State at CenturyLink in 2011, the initial fulfillment of athletic director Bill Moos’ stated goal of playing WSU’s home games against the Oregon schools in Seattle.
WSU will play road games at BYU, UNLV, Oregon State, Stanford, Utah and Arizona State. In addition to Colorado, Oregon and Washington, the Cougars face Eastern Washington, California and UCLA at home.
The timing of WSU’s bye is a bit more reasonable this year. It comes on Oct. 20 after seven games – just past the halfway point, as opposed to 2011 when the Cougars received a week off after their first three games, and in 2010 when a scheduling quirk forced WSU to play 11 games before receiving back-to-back byes prior to the Apple Cup.