Northwestern, Stanford extend series

Northwestern and Stanford were already set to play a four-game series beginning in 2019. On Wednesday, the two schools decided to meet a little earlier, too.

The Wildcats and Cardinal now will also play a home-and-home series in 2015 and 2016. The first game will be in Evanston on Sept. 5, 2015 as the season opener. Northwestern will head to Palo Alto on Sept. 24, 2016.

The 2019 game will be at Northwestern on Sept. 14, and the teams will alternate home fields for the next three years.

"This was a great opportunity for Northwestern to expand on our upcoming series with Stanford and allow an exciting matchup to take place even sooner," Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips said in a statement. "We're thrilled about the quality of our future nonconference opponents, with schools such as Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Boston College, Syracuse, California and now Stanford. Couple that with our traditional Big Ten schedule and it is safe to say there will be plenty of exciting action in Chicago's backyard for years to come."

Stanford and Northwestern make natural partners because of their academics. The Pac-12 and Big Ten are entering into an agreement for interconference games in 2017, and this matchup could easily count as one of those from 2019 to 2022.