While it hasn’t gotten the headlines of the rivalry between the Irish and the Wolverines, Notre Dame’s long-running series with Michigan State has also become part of the collateral damage from conference expansion. With Notre Dame committed to playing five ACC opponents a season and the Spartans dealing with a new nine-game conference commitment, finding a way to renew the series has been on both athletic departments’ priority list.
With news coming out of Rosemont, Illinois as the Big Ten holds spring meetings, it appears the hope for renewing the rivalry isn’t dead, though an annual game for the megaphone trophy isn’t possible anymore.
“It’s gone,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told Matt Charboneau of the Detroit News at the Big Ten’s spring meetings. “We have situations where we can’t play them, they have situations where they can’t play us, and it’s just kind of the roadkill of conference expansion that’s created these close rivalries to … we both want to play each other; we just can’t.”
The teams are set to play in 2016 and 2017. And while a handshake agreement has both schools trading home games sometime in the 20s, a neutral site game at a still to be determined location is lined up for 2023. Hollis seemed to point at Chicago as a logical venue for the two Midwestern programs to meet.
“Logically, it would be Midwest,” Hollis said. “Notre Dame and Michigan State have a reputation for taking games to national and global locations. So I think anywhere on the planet is probably in play. But a Notre Dame-Michigan State series in Chicago would be a very attractive location and you could kind of take, it’s not a game on campus but it’s very close to the alumni and fan bases. That’s not an announcement, it’s just a thought process.”