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Michigan State plans to keep ’16 games against Alabama, Notre Dame

Nick Hill, Leron Eaddy AP

With the announcement on Sunday that the Big Ten would go to a nine-game conference schedule beginning in 2016, Michigan State was suddenly looking at perhaps one of the toughest slate of games in all of college football that year.

In addition to being placed in the East Division, where the Spartans will play Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State every year, Michigan State has non-conference games scheduled in 2016 on the road at Alabama and at home against Notre Dame.

According to the Detroit Free Press, MSU says it plans to keep the games against the Tide and Irish that year. The Spartans also have two cupcakes against Eastern Michigan and Furman scheduled that season as well. For what it’s worth, the Big Ten is looking to swear off games against 1-AA schools in the future.

“Everything’s under review,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said. “And don’t overreact to that, because I think (the Alabama series) is safe. We want to play these games, we’re not shying away from them. … But this is a challenge.”

The Notre Dame series should be relatively easy to manage. The two sides are scheduled to play through 2032 with a two-year gap in play every four years. Because the Big Ten’s East division will get five home conference games in even-numbered years and four in odd-numbered ones, Michigan State could switch some home games with the Irish.

Scheduling is a puzzle and the even bigger issue is that every school is trying to put together its own. The initial reaction of a conference going to nine league games is that major non-conference games could be scrapped. At least for now, Michigan State appears to be doing the opposite.

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6 Responses to “Michigan State plans to keep ’16 games against Alabama, Notre Dame”
  1. coolhorn46 says: Apr 28, 2013 8:59 PM

    Interesting…if Saban’s still coaching ‘Bama, they can call it the “Saban Bowl” since he coached Sparty too.

  2. dcroz says: Apr 28, 2013 10:23 PM

    I doubt Big Ten schools will scrap any major non-conference games, though they will likely limit themselves to just one such contest per year. With the upcoming playoff, schools that hope to make it to it are going to have an eye on schedule strength to try to increase the chances they are chosen for one of the four spots. MSU may keep the Tide and Irish in ’16, but don’t expect to see two major non-cons on the schedule beyond that. Now, if the SEC would just decide to do the same at their summer meeting in Destin.

  3. jonrox says: Apr 29, 2013 2:49 AM

    “Sparty” is the name of Michigan State’s mascot and only that. It is not the name of the school, its teams, or its fans. “The Spartans” will do nicely.

  4. sparty0n says: Apr 29, 2013 3:39 PM

    I’m surprised Notre Dame wants to keep any Big Ten games since they ran scared to the ACC instead of the Big Ten WHERE THEY BELONG!

  5. ancientcougar says: Apr 29, 2013 8:17 PM

    Like the ACC is a cupcake conference?

  6. amosalanzostagg says: Apr 30, 2013 7:26 PM

    All I know is that I have my tickets for MSU/Alabama. That could be after Saban retires after his 5th consecutive national championship, but new coach, Urban Meyer, returns to his roots and hopes to take over where St. Nick has left.

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