Blame it on Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane is moving from the Western Athletic Conference to Conference USA, opening a hole that needs to be filled in San Jose State's 2005 home schedule.
Needing the Sept. 17 date, originally scheduled at Stanford, San Jose State asked out of its agreement with Stanford, according to two sources who did not want to be named. To retain their Division I-A status, the Spartans must schedule five home games against teams at that level and average 15,000 fans per game in 2004. If San Jose State can't reach those marks, the program will be given one more year to comply, which could make 2005 crucial.
``The NCAA is thinking of rescinding the five-home game rule,'' San Jose State Athletic Director Chuck Bell said. ``Our 2005 schedule is completely up in the air.''
Bell would not confirm that Stanford had been dropped from the 2005 schedule. But UC-Davis, which this season moved from Division II to a provisional Division I-AA program, sent out a release Tuesday saying it ``will travel to play Stanford on Sept. 17, 2005.''
The release quotes Stanford A.D. Ted Leland as saying, ``We're looking forward to hosting UC-Davis'' and ``we are excited to pair our two football programs together in 2005.''
Bell did give another reason why San Jose State will change its proposed schedule. ``We're trying to play a Grambling-type game,'' he said. ``One of those type will draw a large crowd.''
In August, a home game against Division I-AA Grambling State drew a capacity crowd to Spartan Stadium and pushed the season average to 15,080. Bell said he is trying to schedule another predominantly black school, such as Florida A&M or Southern, two institutions with large followings for both its team and its band. Grambling also remains a possibility.
Utah State, which will join the WAC in 2005, is a possible new opponent, Bell confirmed.
Stanford and San Jose State have played each other in football every year since 1959 with the exception of 1991. They will meet Sept. 11, 2004, at Spartan Stadium.
``Stanford and San Jose State will continue to have a long-term relationship in 2004 and 2006, and beyond,'' said Gary Migdol, assistant athletic director at Stanford. ``We've had years in the past in which we haven't played, and we'll have another in 2005.''
Stanford's future schedules list a season-opening game against San Jose State in 2006 but do not show the Spartans on the preliminary 10-game schedule for 2007 or 2008. The Spartans' media guide lists a home game against Stanford in 2007, but, as Bell reiterated, it's all up in the air.
San Jose State's five home opponents for 2005 are San Diego State, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Nevada and the replacement for Tulsa. Bell said he doubts Louisiana Tech will be an opponent that season because of conference jumping.