One day after MSU secured the commitment from punter Jake Hartbarger, it has coincidentally been confirmed by Joe Rexrode that Alabama has canceled the 2016-17 football series with MSU.
The Tide are citing uncertainly with the SEC schedule (read: nine games), but we all know it's because they're scared of MSU's specialists.
It's the second time a team has backed out of a series with MSU because of conference scheduling, the other being West Virginia when it moved to the Big 12.
The Mountaineers were replaced by Oregon for 2014-15, but with Notre Dame returning to the schedule in 2016-17, I don't believe there's a need for MSU to find a replacement for Alabama, since the Big Ten is going to nine conference games.
The 2016 nonconference schedule includes Miami (OH), Western Michigan and at Notre Dame. The 2017 schedule has home games against Eastern Michigan, Furman and Notre Dame, according to FBSchedules.
So instead of having perhaps the toughest nonconference schedule in the country, MSU has a typical one: one tough game and the rest being cupcakes.
You can see the 2016-17 conference schedules here. The 2016 home slate would include Miami (OH), WMU, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, Rutgers and Ohio State.
The 2017 home slate would include EMU, Furman, Notre Dame, Iowa, Indiana, Penn State and Maryland. It loses the home game against Alabama.
MSU could always try to change things up, but MSU has to have at least seven home games, so a home-and-home would be difficult. Something was already going to change if Alabama stayed on.
Tuscaloosa News reports Alabama is in discussions for a neutral site game in 2016 against a “big name” opponent.— FBSchedules.com (@FBSchedules) September 26, 2013