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MSU’s next two football schedules are manageable, enticing … then holy 2015

Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Western Michigan on the road in the same year? Michigan State may never have seen a more daunting road slate in one season.

I told colleague Joe Rexrode it’d write an entire blog post including the Spartans’ 2015 date in Kalamazoo as part of this road gauntlet, but alas, I don’t have the talent to pull off the tongue-in-cheek humor for that long. Nor do I want to completely insult what may or may not be a competitive test for MSU.

The Big Ten released its schedule for 2014 Thursday. The schedule, in terms of home and road opponents, will be flipped in 2015. That’s how far MSU’s coaches, players and fans know the road to a Big Ten title.

Here’s the 2014 schedule:

Aug. 30 Jacksonville State
Sept. 13 at Oregon
Sept. 20 Wyoming
Sept. 27 Eastern Michigan
Oct. 4 Nebraska
Oct. 11 at Purdue
Oct. 18 at Indiana
Oct. 25 Michigan
Nov. 8 Ohio State
Nov. 15 at Maryland
Nov. 22 Rutgers
Nov. 29 at Penn State

And what’s known 2015 (league dates aren’t out yet) …

Sept. 12 Oregon
Sept. 19 At Western Michigan
Sept. 26 Central Michigan
At Nebraska
Purdue
Indiana
At Michigan
At Ohio State
Maryland
At Rutgers
Penn State

A few thoughts …

I wrote a column recently about how this season, before MSU begins play in the East Division, would be a good time to win a Big Ten title. If MSU finds an offense, 2014 might not be so bad, either. At the very least, it’s an incredibly enticing home schedule. The problem is, getting Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska at home together means MSU gets them on the road together a year later. And, beyond that, Michigan and Ohio State are likely to be a home or road pair every year. For an MSU team that hasn’t been to a Rose Bowl in more than a quarter-century, this actually isn’t a bad thing. Consistent Big Ten titles are much harder with this draw. But, for the Spartans, getting to Pasadena once is the goal right now. All-or-nothing scheduling years help that cause.

– With Michigan visiting Spartan Stadium in 2014 — as the Big Ten schedule resets itself — MSU sees the Wolverines twice in a row in East Lansing. The talent differential between these programs right now is minimal and so home and road really matters. My first thought on this was that Michigan and Brady Hoke were a bit lucky to survive, 12-10, at home this year, or, the losing streak would have had a fair chance to reach seven games. At that point, Hoke would be 0-4 against MSU and the Michigan-MSU dynamic — the Spartans’ inferiority complex vs. the Wolverines’ arrogance — would have shifted somewhat. It already has a bit. Michigan fans are more sensitive about this rivalry than they were a decade ago and I’ve never felt a greater collective exhale than this season at Michigan Stadium. Wolverine fans in the stands and press box were clearly relieved, and understood how close these programs matchup physically right now.

– Lastly, the first real flaw in the new Big Ten appeared Thursday. Wisconsin’s 2014 schedule doesn’t include Michigan, MSU or Ohio State and the Badgers get Nebraska in Madison. Their path to a championship game is ridiculous in comparison with anyone in the East Division. In 2015, Wisconsin won’t see U-M, MSU or OSU, either. Barry Alvarez apparently has some pull with Jim Delany.

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9 Responses to MSU’s next two football schedules are manageable, enticing … then holy 2015

  1. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Alex Carders not walking through that door folks

  2. avatar AAsparty says:

    Delaney’s making sure one of his darlings makes it to the final 4, not a huge shock but what’s puzzling to me is that PSU is being afforded top-tier status, did I miss something here or aren’t they in ncaa prison for the next 5 years??

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      Thats okay we just have to make hay while the sunshine the next two years, Delaney just cares about media market size.

    • avatar Dwayne Moore says:

      Yup its pretty much all about the BIG 3 OSU,UM and Wisky. But yes I don’t get why PSU would get any hook ups from the BIG 10 offices. Next year 2014 schedule things will get pretty ugly in Happy Valley with the scholarship reductions in full effect.

  3. avatar Don Manger says:

    Lets hear some support from wrestlers about getting Greg Johnson (3 time Big Ten and ncaa champion) into the MSU athletic hall of fame..Don Manger MSU 1973

  4. avatar The Duffer says:

    True, MSU hasn’t been to the Rose Bowl in 25 years. But two of the past three years, in any Big Ten era other than today’s, they would have gone back to back. \

    It’s like saying MSU hasn’t been to a BCS game. It’s a fact, but they should have gone in 1999 over um, and in two of the past three years.

  5. Pingback: Rounding up reaction to 2014 Big Ten schedules « Big Ten Network

  6. avatar MayoSpartan says:

    Damn Couch, I was prepared to compliment you and ask a simple question about the conference’s discretion to schedule bye weeks for teams, but you then make a “MSU inferiority complex vs Michigan arrogance” reference in a scheduling post based on if’s and but’s of a possible MSU 7-0 run against uofm by 2015?

    The B1G conference schedule is said to be based upon TV schedules and revenues. That’s according to ESPN.COM’s article on the conference’s scheduling per the B1G scheduling honcho, Rudner. Well, in addition to stacking a tough or light schedule for certain programs, the league can also affect a programs ability to win by scheduling the bye week, which few pundits mention. Week 9 or 10 byes are less helpful than mid season byes IMHO.

    Why has MSU consistently had their bye week during the last three weeks of conference play since 2008 (2012 was the first mid-season Oct. bye)?

  7. avatar Don Manger says:

    Please let’s hear some good words about Tim Staudt’s last Sunday mention of Greg Johnson and the MSU hall of fame. Call Mr. Hollis or e-mail the Journal and make your voice heard for someone who is not around any more. Greg was a dynamo and as Grady Peninger says “the toughest little guy he ever coached”. Long before “Magic” Johnson he was the most famous Johnson to come out of Lansing
    Everett.

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