Northwestern and Stanford are now scheduled to play just twice after originally agreeing to a series that would feature six games. First reported by FBSchedules.com, Stanford will travel to Evanston to open the 2015 season and the Wildcats will go west in 2019.
In 2011, Northwestern and Stanford settled on a four-game series from 2019-2022. The next year, the two schools added home-and-home games for 2015 and 2016, making for six total games from 2015-2022.
The original report cites the Big Ten's move to a nine-game conference schedule caused the cancelation. Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel reported during Big Ten Media Days in July that Fitzgerald and the other Big Ten coaches voted against going to a nine-game schedule.
Pat Fitzgerald said Big Ten coaches voted 14-0 AGAINST going to nine league games. "But hey, we do what we're told."— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) July 31, 2015
One of the reasons Fitzgerald is against the new scheduling parameters is because it makes it more difficult to schedule games like the Stanford one.
"When you look at future scheduling, we're running out of inventory. We're kind of negotiating against each other for games, which makes no sense to me." Fitzgerald said he would've like the rule to require each school to play one 'academic comparable' Power Five team, one MAC team, and one FCS team.
"If we're going to win on the recruiting trail, we have to win on the field. Most of our guys looked at [Duke and Stanford] schools too. And we know a lot of guys on both of their rosters."
According to FBSchedules.com, Northwestern has deals with Western Michigan, Illinois State and Duke for the 2016 non-conference schedule. In 2017, Northwestern has Western Illinois and Duke. The next year, 2018, Northwestern is scheduled to play Duke and Notre Dame. The 2019 outlook has the matchup at Stanford. And Northwestern will play Central Michigan in 2020. Past that, the only series Northwestern has are two games against Rice in 2024 and 2025.