My offseason series looking at Big Ten Conference expansion as it relates to the Michigan State Spartans comes to a conclusion today with a look at potential ACC members that might be prime candidates to join the league and Notre Dame. While the Fighting Irish are an independent in football, Notre Dame is a member of the ACC in men’s basketball. Additionally, Notre Dame is already a member of the Big Ten as well in men’s ice hockey.
As an addendum to Tuesday’s article regarding Pac-12 candidates, after I wrote the piece, but before it was published, there were reports that Oregon has begun preliminary discussions with the Big Ten about joining the league.
Oregon has initiated preliminary discussions in Chicago w/Big Ten to determine if Ducks are compatible in the Big Ten, source told @ActionNetworkHQ. Big Ten “not done expanding,” sources told @ActionNetworkHQ last week. https://t.co/DYMZADm17v— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 22, 2022
So without further ado, here are the top schools in the ACC (in no particular order) that might end up as Big Ten additions down the road and their history in football and men’s basketball against Michigan State. Please note, however, that in diving through archives for Michigan State, there are a number of errors in MSU’s records among several ACC programs that failed to account for games prior to around the 1999 season. As a result, some of these may not have games prior to the 1950s as outside websites do not have data prior to that decade, either.
Michigan State is 1-3 in football versus the University of Miami. The first game between the two came in 1959, but the programs played just twice more last century in 1982 and 1989. COVID-19 canceled what would have otherwise been just the second visit to East Lansing by the U in 2020, but MSU traveled to Hard Rock Stadium last season and defeated the Hurricanes for the first time, by a final score of 38-17.
The full series history of Michigan State versus Miami is below:
MSU-Miami Football Series History
|9/18/2021||2021||Miami Gardens, FL||Away||W 38 - 17|
|9/30/1989||1989||East Lansing, Mich.||Home||L 20 - 26|
|9/25/1982||1982||Miami Gardens, FL||Away||L 22 - 25|
|11/20/1959||1959||Miami Gardens, FL||Away||L 13 - 18|
As for basketball, the programs have met just twice. Once came as part of the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge in 2012, which Miami won 67-59 in Coral Gables, Florida. The other was a 78-58 victory for Michigan State over Miami in the 2017 NCAA Tournament’s first round.
MSU-Miami MBB Series History
|3/17/2017||2016-17||Tulsa, Okla.||Neutral||W 78 - 58|
|11/28/2012||2012-13||Miami, Fla.||Away||L 59 - 67|
Michigan State is 0-2 all-time in football versus the Seminoles, but has only played in one home-and-home series against FSU in 1987 and 1988.
MSU-FSU Football Series History
|9/24/1988||1988||Tallahassee, FL||Away||L 7 - 30|
|9/26/1987||1987||East Lansing, Mich.||Home||L 3 - 31|
As for basketball, the Spartans are 1-1, having defeated the Seminoles in the lone regular season matchup in the series in East Lansing as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The other matchup came at Florida State in the 1997 NIT.
MSU-FSU MBB Series History
|11/30/2011||2011-12||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 65-49|
|3/17/1997||1996-97||Tallahassee, FL||Away||L 63-68|
The Spartans are 0-3 against the Yellow Jackets, having faced off in a home-and-home series 1971-1972 and a bowl game matchup in 1985.
MSU-GT Football Series History
|12/31/1985||1985||Birmingham, Ala.||Neutral||L 14 - 17|
|9/23/1972||1972||East Lansing, Mich.||Home||L 16 - 21|
|9/18/1971||1971||Atlanta, Ga.||Away||L 0 - 10|
In basketball, MSU is 1-2, with the lone win in the series coming as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. That win came on Nov. 30, 2005 in an 88-86 thriller at the Breslin Center. This was one of the series that Spartan archives seemed to be missing from.
MSU-GT MBB Series History
|11/30/2005||2005-06||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 88-86|
|3/23/1989||1989-90||Atlanta, GA||Away||L 80-81|
|12/22/1949||1949-50||Atlanta, GA||Away||L 60-68|
Michigan State is 2-1 versus North Carolina on the gridiron, but the series has been dormant for a long, long time. The Spartans hosted the Tar Heels in 1962 and 1963, winning both matchups. North Carolina returned the favor in Chapel Hill in 1964 in the last meeting.
MSU-UNC Football Series History
|9/26/1964||1964||Chapel Hill, N.C.||Away||L 15 - 21|
|9/28/1963||1963||East Lansing, Mich.||Home||W 31 - 10|
|10/6/1962||1962||East Lansing, Mich.||Home||W 38 - 6|
In one of the more richer series history with ACC schools, Michigan State has faced off against North Carolina 16 times in men’s basketball. Unfortunately, MSU is 4-12 all-time in the series against UNC that dates back to at least 1957. This was one of the series that Spartan archives seemed to be missing from.
MSU-UNC MBB Series History
|11/26/2017||2017-18||Portland, Ore.||Neutral||W 63 - 45|
|12/4/2013||2013-14||East Lansing, Mich.||Home||L 65 - 79|
|11/11/2011||2011-12||San Diego [Bay], Calif.||Neutral||L 55 - 67|
|12/1/2009||2009-10||Chapel Hill, NC||Away||L 82 - 89|
|4/6/2009||2008-09||Detroit, Mich.||Neutral||L 72 - 89|
|4/2/2005||2004-05||St. Louis, Mo.||Away||L 71 - 87|
|11/29/2000||2000-01||East Lansing, Mich.||Home||W 77 - 64|
|12/1/1999||1999-00||Chapel Hill, NC||Away||W 86 - 76|
|3/19/1998||1997-98||Greensboro, NC||Neutral||L 58-73|
|12/16/1978||1978-79||Chapel Hill, NC||Away||L 69-70|
|12/6/1976||1976-77||East Lansing, Mich.||Home||L 58-81|
|12/30/1958||1958-59||Raleigh, NC||Neutral||W 75-58|
|3/22/1957||1956-57||Kansas City, MO||Neutral||L 70-74 (3OT)|
Duke Blue Devils
Perhaps not surprising to most people, Michigan State has never faced off against Duke in football. Basketball, however, features one of the most total matchups between two programs in NCAA Tournament history. Unfortunately, the overall record even outside of the NCAA Tournament is also rather bleak at just 4-14 all-time.
This was yet another one of the series that Spartan archives seemed to be missing from.
MSU-Duke MBB Series History
|3/20/2022||2021-22||Greenville, SC||Neutral||L 76 - 85|
|12/1/2020||2020-21||Durham, NC||Away||W 75 - 69|
|12/3/2019||2019-20||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 75 - 87|
|3/31/2019||2018-19||Washington, D.C.||Neutral||W 68 - 67|
|11/14/2017||2017-18||Chicago, IL||Neutral||L 81 - 88|
|11/29/2016||2016-17||Durham, NC||Away||L 69 - 78|
|4/4/2015||2014-15||Indianapolis, IN||Neutral||L 61 - 81|
|11/18/2014||2014-15||Indianapolis, IN||Neutral||L 71 - 81|
|3/29/2013||2012-13||Indianapolis, IN||Neutral||L 61 - 71|
|11/15/2011||2011-12||New York, NY||Away||L 69 - 74|
|12/1/2010||2010-11||Durham, NC||Away||L 79 - 84|
|3/25/2005||2004-05||Austin, TX||Neutral||W 78-68|
|11/30/2004||2004-05||Durham, NC||Away||L 74-81|
|12/3/2003||2003-04||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 50-72|
|3/27/1999||1998-99||St. Petersburg, FL||Neutral||L 62-68|
|12/2/1998||1998-99||Chicago, IL||Neutral||L 67-73|
|3/20/1994||1993-94||St. Petersburg, FL||Neutral||L 74-85|
|12/29/1958||1958-59||Durham, NC||Away||W 82-57|
In one of the most played series in Michigan State football history against a non-conference opponent (and far more than any of the six newest Big Ten additions — counting 2024 members, UCLA and USC), Michigan State has played Notre Dame 79 times. Also unfortunate is that the Spartans are 29-49-1 all-time against the Fighting Irish.
MSU-ND FB Series History
|9/23/2017||2017||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 18 - 38|
|9/17/2016||2016||South Bend, IN||Away||W 36 - 28|
|9/21/2013||2013||South Bend, IN||Away||L 13 - 17|
|9/15/2012||2012||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 3 - 20|
|9/17/2011||2011||South Bend, IN||Away||L 13 - 31|
|9/18/2010||2010||East Lansing, MI||Home||OTW 34 - 31|
|9/19/2009||2009||South Bend, IN||Away||L 30 - 33|
|9/20/2008||2008||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 23 - 7|
|9/22/2007||2007||South Bend, IN||Away||W 31 - 14|
|9/23/2006||2006||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 37 - 40|
|9/17/2005||2005||South Bend, IN||Away||OTW 44 - 41|
|9/18/2004||2004||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 24 - 31|
|9/20/2003||2003||South Bend, IN||Away||W 22 - 16|
|9/21/2002||2002||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 17 - 21|
|9/22/2001||2001||South Bend, IN||Away||W 17 - 10|
|9/23/2000||2000||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 27 - 21|
|9/18/1999||1999||South Bend, IN||Home||W 23 - 13|
|9/12/1998||1998||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 45 - 23|
|9/20/1997||1997||South Bend, IN||Away||W 23 - 7|
|9/17/1994||1994||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 20 - 21|
|9/18/1993||1993||South Bend, IN||Away||L 14 - 36|
|9/19/1992||1992||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 31 - 52|
|9/21/1991||1991||South Bend, IN||Away||L 10 - 49|
|9/22/1990||1990||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 19 - 20|
|9/23/1989||1989||South Bend, IN||Away||L 13 - 21|
|9/17/1988||1988||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 3 - 20|
|9/19/1987||1987||South Bend, IN||Away||L 8 - 31|
|9/20/1986||1986||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 20 - 15|
|9/21/1985||1985||South Bend, IN||Away||L 10 - 27|
|9/15/1984||1984||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 20 - 24|
|9/17/1983||1983||South Bend, IN||Away||W 28 - 23|
|10/2/1982||1982||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 3 - 11|
|10/3/1981||1981||South Bend, IN||Away||L 7 - 20|
|10/4/1980||1980||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 21 - 26|
|9/29/1979||1979||South Bend, IN||Away||L 3 - 27|
|10/7/1978||1978||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 25 - 29|
|10/1/1977||1977||South Bend, IN||Away||L 6 - 16|
|10/2/1976||1976||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 6 - 24|
|10/4/1975||1975||South Bend, IN||Away||W 10 - 3|
|10/5/1974||1974||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 14 - 19|
|10/6/1973||1973||South Bend, IN||Away||L 10 - 14|
|10/7/1972||1972||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 0 - 16|
|10/2/1971||1971||South Bend, IN||Away||L 2 - 14|
|10/3/1970||1970||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 0 - 29|
|10/4/1969||1969||South Bend, IN||Away||L 28 - 42|
|10/26/1968||1968||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 21 - 17|
|10/28/1967||1967||South Bend, IN||Away||L 12 - 24|
|11/19/1966||1966||East Lansing, MI||Home||T 10 - 10|
|11/20/1965||1965||South Bend, IN||Away||W 12 - 3|
|11/14/1964||1964||South Bend, IN||Away||L 7 - 34|
|11/16/1963||1963||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 12 - 7|
|10/20/1962||1962||South Bend, IN||Away||W 31 - 7|
|10/21/1961||1961||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 17 - 7|
|10/15/1960||1960||South Bend, IN||Away||W 21 - 0|
|10/17/1959||1959||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 19 - 0|
|11/9/1957||1957||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 34 - 6|
|10/20/1956||1956||South Bend, IN||Away||W 47 - 14|
|10/15/1955||1955||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 21 - 7|
|10/16/1954||1954||South Bend, IN||Away||L 19 - 20|
|11/15/1952||1952||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 21 - 3|
|11/10/1951||1951||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 35 - 0|
|10/28/1950||1950||South Bend, IN||Away||W 36 - 33|
|11/5/1949||1949||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 21 - 34|
|10/9/1948||1948||South Bend, IN||Away||L 7 - 26|
|11/24/1921||1921||South Bend, IN||Away||L 0 - 48|
|11/25/1920||1920||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 0 - 25|
|11/15/1919||1919||South Bend, IN||Away||L 0 - 13|
|11/16/1918||1918||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 13 - 7|
|11/17/1917||1917||South Bend, IN||Away||L 0 - 23|
|11/18/1916||1916||East Lansing, MI||Home||L 0 - 14|
|10/29/1910||1910||East Lansing, MI||Home||W 17 - 0|
|10/30/1909||1909||South Bend, IN||Away||L 0 - 17|
|11/3/1906||1906||South Bend, IN||Away||L 0 - 5|
|10/3/1905||1905||South Bend, IN||Away||L 0 - 28|
|10/3/1903||1903||South Bend, IN||Away||L 0 - 12|
|9/27/1902||1902||South Bend, IN||Away||L 0 - 33|
|9/29/1899||1899||South Bend, IN||Away||L 0 - 40|
|10/15/1898||1898||South Bend, IN||Away||L 0 - 53|
|11/25/1897||1897||South Bend, IN||Away||L 6 - 34|
The Spartans and Fighting Irish have played at least 34 matchups in basketball, yet the Michigan State archives show just three games all-time in the series records. Since a Jan. 7, 1950 matchup to present, MSU is 19-15 against Notre Dame. As a result of the sheer number of matchups and lack of data in the athletic department records, a chart of all matchups is not available.
The two Virginia schools both offer strong academics, but frankly bring little to the table in terms of athletic revenue, particularly Virginia football, that would represent growing the payouts for Big Ten programs. Syracuse and Louisville may also offer enough revenue to be at least a neutral add in terms of brining enough to the table to not be a net loss like other programs, but due to the missing data and that not being totally evident, I left them off. Also, nobody needs to revisit that 2018 NCAA Tournament matchup. Just let it die already.
North Carolina and Duke are a reach as well, but are two of the premier basketball programs along with top notch academic institutions (fake classes aside). So I did include them both in the end. Clemson seems like it would have zero interest in the Big Ten rather than the SEC, so I saw little point in examining that series history in basketball as the Spartans have never played the Tigers in football.
Florida State would be another reach in terms of its poor academic standing, but both FSU and Miami offer a foothold in Florida that the Big Ten absolutely wants if it can get one. Georgia Tech is the same for Atlanta and the state of Georgia, along with being a good academic school. However, it would be a net negative financially as a sports school, but the other advantages of recruiting, academics and the Atlanta media market could offset it enough.
Pittsburgh would likely be voted down by Penn State and would not bring a great financial gain either since it shares a media market already penetrated by PSU. Boston College is also of no financial benefit, though Boston is a big media market. However, the program and region bring little value even if BC has a hockey program.
Notre Dame, at the end of the day, is the main program the Big Ten wants out of this pot. However, it is also the one seemingly least interested at this point, still. Like much of the rest of the Big Ten, though, Notre Dame has a rich history against Michigan State and is a ready-made rival should the league manage to sway the Fighting Irish to fully join besides just in men’s ice hockey.