Is this the point in the program were we talk about Alabama showing SEC speed in hightailing it away from a Big Ten school*?
Any way, Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis confirmed in a text message to the Detroit Free Press that, at the Tide’s request, a football series scheduled for 2016 and 2017 has been canceled. The former game was to have been played in Tuscaloosa, the latter in East Lansing.
Alabama cited question marks surrounding future SEC schedules — the conference is still considering moving from eight to nine league games — as the reason behind its request.
“Alabama requested to cancel the series due to uncertainty with the SEC schedule,” Hollis wrote in a text message today. “While disappointed, in the spirit of collegiality, we agreed to the request.”
The Tide’s decision to dump the series actually helps MSU schedule-wise as the Big Ten will move to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016; the Spartans already had four non-conference games agreed upon for that season — Eastern Michigan, Furman and Notre Dame being the others — and would’ve needed to dump one anyway. Hollis seemed to intimate, however, that he was looking to add another high-profile game that season, which would mean getting rid of either EMU or the FCS school.
On the Alabama side of the equation, Michigan State was the only non-conference game scheduled for the 2016 season. They also have a 2017 game scheduled with Colorado State.
(*Lighten up, Francis. it was a joke.)
UPDATED 4:28 p.m. ET: Alabama athletic director Bill Battle released a statement addressing the cancellation of the MSU series.
“Michigan State graciously granted our request to cancel the games previously scheduled for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. We made the request due to the uncertainty of the conference football schedule in those years. We are very appreciative of Michigan State’s willingness to grant that request.”