If I had it my way, here’s who I would schedule for Michigan State football in future non-conference play.
The Michigan State football spring game just concluded on Saturday and that officially has me ready for football season once again. With football now on our minds, I thought it would be fun to once again take control of what our future Spartans’ schedule will look like.
In part one of this series, I gave my thoughts on what non-conference opponents I want Michigan State basketball to schedule (here), and in part two we are going to do the same thing for football.
By selecting one team from each conference, this is who I want MSU to schedule a home and home series with (one game at Spartan Stadium and one true road game) from a fan’s perspective.
SEC: LSU Tigers
Everyone always says “We want Bama” but I definitely don’t — not yet at least. Our Spartans may not be ready to play the Alabamas of the college football world, but they might surprise some people in a matchup against LSU.
There isn’t much history between the two programs as LSU has won the only meeting back in 1995, but there is definitely a fair amount of bad blood between the two programs to make this matchup interesting. Nick Saban leaving us for LSU back in 1999 still upsets a lot of Spartan fans today and the Tigers’ new head coach Brian Kelly has a lot of history with MSU. Kelly was the head coach at CMU for three years, losing to MSU the one time they faced each other, and then most recently at Notre Dame where he had a 4-2 record against the Spartans (more to come on Notre Dame later).
The matchup versus Brian Kelly alone is enough for me to want to get LSU on our schedule, and while we may have almost no chance of winning in Death Valley, I think we could surprise a lot of people and get the win in East Lansing.
ACC: Pittsburgh Panthers
Pitt is led by former longtime MSU assistant coach Pat Narduzzi who played a massive role in the success our program saw under Mark Dantonio, and for that, I am forever grateful.
But who can forget the choice words Narduzzi had after MSU beat Pittsburgh in the 2021 Peach Bowl when he said about MSU, “If that’s one of the best Big Ten teams, let’s go to the Big Ten and win it every year.” That right there folks, is delusion at its finest. How did Pittsburgh do this past season, you might ask? A decent 9-4 season with a team that would struggle to win that many games in the Big Ten.
MSU and Pitt have played eight times in their history, with the Spartans winning seven games and the eighth being a tie. I expect that dominance to continue with MSU winning both the home and road matchup in this series.
Pac-12: Colorado Buffalos
There really isn’t much to say about Colorado, its program stinks and it has for a very long time. However, as I’m sure you all know, Colorado is where Mel Tucker last coached before Michigan State and its fans, to this day, still complain about him leaving.
I know Tuck would love the opportunity to put them back in their place. This matchup is now a lot more interesting after Colorado hired Deion Sanders this offseason, but I’m not buying any of that hype. College football fans are expecting him to raise Colorado out of the ashes, but I personally don’t see that happening there any time soon.
Michigan State football, once again, has not lost a game in this series (3-0 all time) and I again would pick the Spartans to win both of these games in a somewhat dominant fashion and put an end to all the delusional Deion hype and make their fanbase even angrier that Tuck left their program.
Big 12: Baylor Bears
I picked the Baylor Bears to be the Big 12 matchup for MSU hoops and I’m picking them once again for football. Baylor has its up-and-down seasons as a program, very similar to MSU, but it is a very respectable program out of the Big 12.
With Oklahoma and Texas leaving for the SEC, I expect Baylor to become one of the premier programs in the conference making this matchup all the more exciting.
Michigan State football is once again undefeated in this series (2-0 all-time) with the most recent win being one of the all-time classics in Spartan history when they stormed back in the 2015 Cotton Bowl to erase a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit to win by one point. I was lucky enough to be at that game and would love to watch these two programs play again.
I believe MSU would get the win in East Lansing but would struggle to do the same in Waco, Texas, so I think a series split is likely in this matchup.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
I do not like Notre Dame. I do not like how their university and program act and I hate how arrogant their fans come across. Also, join a conference already; still being an Independent in 2023 is lame. I think our friends down the road in Ann Arbor would agree that not having the Irish on our schedules regularly is ridiculous as Notre Dame is likely both of our schools’ biggest non-conference rival.
Notre Dame has unfortunately been pretty dominant in this rivalry, leading the series 49-29-1, but I do not see a way we lose this game the first time we play them again in Spartan Stadium.
Thankfully, we do not have to wait much longer for this matchup as we are scheduled to face off against the Irish on the road in 2026 and then in East Lansing in 2027, and I personally can not wait to scream my head off as I watch MSU destroy Notre Dame in Spartan Stadium.
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