Posted September 26, 2013

Why did Alabama cancel its 2016-17 nonconference series with Michigan State?

Alabama Crimson Tide, Michigan State Spartans, Schedule Matters, SEC
Nick Saban

Nick Saban and Alabama will no longer play a series with Michigan State in 2016 and 2017. (Darren Carroll/SI)

College football scheduling is strange. Future games are announced to the world a few years in advance, and in the years before a game is (likely) played, the conference landscape has the potential to totally change.

So a headline like “Notre Dame agrees to series with Mark Twain Central in 2023″ is neat because wow, the Riverboats have never had a home-and-home this big in their young existence. But it doesn’t mean an awful lot until the season in which the game is set to take place. At any given time, due to external factors beyond fans’ control, the series could disappear because of the ice caps melting, or college football being played in space, or a conference schedule expanding to nine games per year.

The latter is what seems to be happening with the Michigan State-Alabama series originally set for 2016 and 2017. According to the Detroit Free Press, Alabama canceled the potential matchups, which would have seen Nick Saban come home, so to speak (Saban was the head coach at Michigan State from 1995-99 and coached defensive backs during the Reagan era):

“Alabama requested to cancel the series due to uncertainty with the SEC schedule,” [Michigan State athletic director Mark] Hollis wrote in a text message today. “While disappointed, in the spirit of collegiality, we agreed to the request.”

Everyone is supposed to feign outrage and say things like “BAMA SCARED PAWWWLLL,” despite the reason probably being that Alabama wouldn’t, in fact, have had room to play the Spartans if the SEC adopts a nine-game league slate. The only issue here is that this would have been a nice nonconference battle, and fans need more of those. Attendance is already down across college football, and part of that stems from teams scheduling opponents such as Savannah State, contests in which the favorite ends up winning by so many points that the fourth quarter gets shortened.

Basically, this isn’t anything to get upset about in a vacuum, but it does make one wonder why athletic departments bother trying to schedule something so far ahead of time to begin with.

56 comments
qstick
qstick

The SEC has the largest stadiums and, one could credibly argue, the most rapid college football fans in America.

If LSU hosted the Braille Institute junior varsity, they'd sell 92,000 tickets, likely wouldn't suffer any significant injuries, stand zero chance of losing, fill the coffers with millions, what's not to love?

The SEC feasts on the likes of Troy, North Texas, Georgia St., Louisiana Monroe, Louisiana Lafayette, and Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee St., Western Kentucky, UAB, many others, plus a few FCS schools that want the big payday for coming into town, get beaten senseless, grab the check, and get out of town when it's all over.

The SEC won't play a 9 game conference schedule, 8 plus 4 or so OOC stiffs, schools like Kentucky can win 4 OOC games, go 2-6 in the SEC, and voila, they're bowl-eligible.   Most of the OOC SEC games are at home with an occasional OOC game worth watching like S. Caro. vs. Clemson,  Georgia vs. Georgia Tech and Florida vs. Florida St. 

As long as the fans tolerate Alabama playing Chattanooga, that game is scheduled for Nov. 23, as well as Florida vs. Georgia Southern,  LSU vs. Furman scheduled for Oct. 26, Georgia vs. Appalachian St. Nov. 9 among others, nothing will change.  

Why risk losing a game, players to injury, or reduced paydays visiting teams with a chance of winning like Michigan St., play Georgia St. at home instead.

Seems to be working to perfection.

Tully
Tully

As it stands now in 2016 Bama now has zero OOC games  scheduled. In 2017  Colorado State is the only OOC game scheduled.  I am not sure how the writer makes the excuse for Alabama that   "...the reason probably being that Alabama wouldn’t, in fact, have had room to play the Spartans if the SEC adopts a nine-game league slate."   

In fact the home and home series with MSU was the only home and home series Bama had on the OOC schedule.   Not having room on the OOC schedule is not  going to fly at this time.

Hola
Hola

Alabama just dropped a pansy named Michigan State.  We should be rejoicing.

atwood.t
atwood.t

About a year ago Georgia pulled out of a home and home with Oregon.  Oregon is scheduled to play Texas A&M (after Mariota and Manziel have graduated). If form holds TAMU will back out.  I will give Tennessee credit...they did not back out of coming to Eugene. Regardless, this trend by all conferences to schedule patsies instead of strong out of conference foes is disappointing at best and certainly hurts the game. Who wants to pay big bucks for 55-0 routs?

ianlinross
ianlinross

Need another directional school on the calendar. 

Hardcore fans sell their tickets to the subway alums to watch a 70-0 game, the first-timers buy plenty of hats, t-shirts and beer. That's your second level of revenue generation.

humdrumdrumhumming
humdrumdrumhumming

i'm sure they won't be canceling North Texas St. in November.


Here's Alabama's 2013 non-conference schedule:

Virginia Tech (in Atlanta), Colorado State (home), Georgia State (home), Chattanooga on NOVEMBER 23rd (Home)


So if we eliminate the only non-conference BCS team on Bama's 2013 schedule 


here's what kind of OOC schedule we should be extpecting from Bama --- Colorado State (home), Georgia State (home) Chattanooga in late November at home..


Alabama has only one ranked team on the rest of its entire 2013 schedule after Saturday's game with #21 Ole Miss.


that's some tough sledding for the national champions...


SEC teams play only 61.5 percent of the possible opponents in their own conference, tied with the ACC for least of any BCS conference in the country.. 


every team in the Pac-12 will play 82 percent of all the other teams in its conference... which means Pac 12 teams play more ranked opponents IN CONFERENCE than SEC teams -- who will claim they played all 14 teams, especially the ranked ones

surprising?


it's all about perception, the SEC wants to claim all the ranked teams in their conference but they don't actually play any of them...


SEC honks will tell you their conference (pumped up by idiotic voters) finished last year with 5 teams ranked in the Top 10..

i'll tell you..


Alabama played only one team inside or outside of SEC play during the 2012 regular season that finished the year ranked in the Top 10 --- and the Crimson Tide lost that game..


The SEC --- where perception is everything..


and



Scheduling 

Equals 

Championships



SBBNewYork
SBBNewYork

@Blinker  Chicken? Do you remember the last time Alabama played Michigan State two years ago? An EPIC embarrassment for MSU, the Big 10. 49-7. I think the third string actually scored 14 points. 

@Owg And I love the complaints about a weak schedule. Michigan's, Ohio State's schedules....Central Michigan? Akron? F#$&ing Connecticut? Buffalo? 

OwG
OwG

Alabama is fully on its way to a schedule that will include one real game against a competitive team and 10 cupcakes. In some ways its sound strategy because most of the writers that vote in college football polls are akin to moths that mindlessly fly into a light.  So beating South Carolina AT&T 70-0 or something is going to look really good to them. 

pamperofirpo
pamperofirpo

This is disappointing, to say the least. In season games with major conferences involved provide far more appealing non-conference games. The major college football conferences should mimic the big Ten-ACC challenge in basketball. Have one weekend each year where Big-Ten teams play SEC teams or PAC 12 teams.

Blinker
Blinker

Bock bock bock bu gack!!!!    CHICKEN!!!!!!!!!

carnage_2012
carnage_2012

So they can pad they're schedule and play an FCS cupcake

DavidWayneHenley
DavidWayneHenley

ALERT: Savannah State has openings in '16 and '17 and they DO need the revenue.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

Right decision, wrong reasons.

It's silly for "student" athletes to travel halfway across the country to play a game.  Yet another indication that this is minor-league pro ball.

cuthbert
cuthbert

It's still pretty dumb on their part. They could have canceled with a Division I-AA or Division 2 school or a much lesser Division I-A school. But choosing to cancel with such a high profile name is pathetic. 


(I would say the same thing about any other school)

cenatheBEST
cenatheBEST

Alabama prefers to play jobbers to keep up the myth of SEC dominance.  They would never cross the Mason Dixon line to play a team from a real conference.

ROLL TIDE1
ROLL TIDE1

Michigan State is scrubville now.....this is strictly about $$$$$.....we're not scared of anybody.....we tried to schedule Oregon.....they opted for LSU instead.  Its hard to schedule with uncertainty of an 8 or 9 game SEC schedule.  We'll take on anybody....yes only the SEC plays DII schools...yall are right no body else in the country plays scrubs at some point....ooooooooooook

TheHip1
TheHip1

This perhaps defines the SEC (and maybe college football in general) more than anything else...yes let's cancel a home and home with a real opponent but keep the St Mary's School for Blind Girls in week 11 on the schedule. All major conferences need to dump the patsies and play good schools. I'd rather see teams be 10-2 or 9-3 with a quality schedule then 12-0 with three 50 point underdogs. The SEC needs to come West sometime (and more often) too. Would love to see home and homes between the Pac-12 and SEC. Alabama vs Oregon @ Autzen? Stanford vs LSU in Death Valley? Unfortunately the way the system is set up now nobody will take that risk and not be undefeated

Ryan13
Ryan13

If it doesn't bring in the dollars it wont make cents.

billX
billX

home/home or neutral likley replaced home only ..$$$$$ ...i.e., the conference game takes place of the MSU game ... so they'd loose $$$ if they cancel the patsies via loosing a home game.

beekay31
beekay31

So why did Alabama choose to cancel their game with BCS conference opponent and not the patsies on their schedule?

donald5
donald5

@qstick "The SEC won't play a 9 game conference schedule"

Despite the fact that is exactly what they are going to do.  FYI, all conferences play cream-puffs dipspit.    

donald5
donald5

@Tully And it is very possible the game was set up for a specific date that the SEC would not guarantee would be open.  

donald5
donald5

@Tully They have a history of being able to fill those slots quickly.  West Virginia and Michigan had no more than 2 years notice to get their games set up.  The Alabama Wisconsin game wasn't finally settled until this year and that game is in 2015.  This really isn't a big deal.

DavidandTracyAgee
DavidandTracyAgee

@humdrumdrumhumming"Alabama has only one ranked team on the rest of its entire 2013 schedule after Saturday's game with #21 Ole Miss."   HAHAHAHAHAHAH  I almost quit reading after this patently false and stupid statement but then I decided to try and figure out if you were ignorant of the facts, or just intentionally misrepresenting them.  First off, LSU is currently ranked 6th and unless I am missing something still on Bama's schedule.  Secondly, your missive is framed in such a way so as to omit the fact that that Bama already played TAMU #6 in the country and VA Tech appears likely to end up in the top 25 (not sure this will happen but it may).  Bottom line on conference opponents is your math means nothing because you have different numbers of teams in conferences and  you can't have it both ways.  If you want SEC teams to play more conference games then you have to allow them to play less OOC games.  For the years in question Michigan State was the ONLY OOC game currently on the schedule.  Likely, the only weekends that Michigan State was available to play Bama were weekends that Bama has been told will be conference weekends.  

As for Strength of Schedule unless you are basically Stanford there are really no top 10 teams that have had a better SOS over the last 8 years than Alabama.  As for the conferences as a whole the SEC has finished first or 2nd every year for the last 8 years also.  (there may have been 3rd place in there...  been a while since I looked it up), 

You want to come up with all the reasons why the SEC teams aren't as good as advertised.  Why don't you start with bowl records????  Oh, and when you are looking at those records be sure and not how many times the SEC opponent is playing a higher place finisher in another conference.  (For example if the 2nd place team from one conference wins or loses a close game to the 5th place team in the SEC what does that tell you)?  

Sorry for the past 8 years the SEC has been the best conference and deserved the accolades.  It won't last much longer...  never does.  Stanford, Oregon, somebody for sure will eventually win the championship and another conference will eventually catch up.  Maybe that will be this year but it wasn't the past 7.

mashley278
mashley278

@humdrumdrumhumming Another slow learner I see. First off, teams like NT aren't scheduled yet. IF you knew ANYTHING about CFB, you would know that. Secondly, they did so because they are likely to be introducing another conference game. And finally, whine all you want. You're probably a fan of one of those conferences that has one or two good teams. Sorry man, the SEC is not like the PAC12 with one great team (Oregon) and one good team (Stanford) or the Big12 (do they have any good teams?), or the Big 10 (Ohio State? Maybe?). The SEC West division alone has had 3 national championships...can you name another CONFERENCE with that? Much less a division. So keep crying and call the whaaaaaambulance. Keep running your mouth as the SEC has downed every conference in the nation, including it's own, in the BCSNCG. Put up or shut up.

mashley278
mashley278

@OwG You mean like another SEC East team? And LSU/TAMU/AU etc.? Can you name ANY other conference that is as tough as the SEC West? ER...nope. Because the SEC West alone has stomped: the Big 10, The Big 12, the PAC 12, and it's own brethren in the SEC...

RobSmith2
RobSmith2

@pamperofirpo every SEC team plays high level competition each wants a year from OOC.. justthis year.. VT.. TCU.. FSU.. Clemson.. Oregon.. Miami.. and those are just 6 that i can think of.. USC also plays Clemson this year.. Ole Miss played Texas.. although idk if they qualify as elite.. they schedule great games every year in advance.. some aren't as great to look at it by the time the roll around.. but it does happen every year.. check Ohio State for lack of quality OOC scheduling

mashley278
mashley278

@cenatheBEST You mean like visiting PSU? Or UCLA? Or FSU? Or Oklahoma? Or VT? Or Clemson? Or Michigan? Oh...I guess not...because they have played all of them...Of course they did rape MSU in a bowl game a couple of years ago when MSU was supposed to be good. Then there's ND, UT, and LSU...in the NC game. But throw that stuff out

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@cenatheBEST Do you think that the better teams in the country are begging to play Alabama?

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@TheHip1 Uh, the western teams also have to be willing to schedule these games with Alabama.  Somehow I don't believe that they are lining up to do so.

mashley278
mashley278

@TheHip1 Again, the patsies do NOT schedule this early, so that is a moot point. Saban was the ONLY coach in the SEC to vote to go to a 9 game SEC schedule. Alabama's OOC schedule in the past few years has included: FSU, Clemson, PSU, Michigan, UCLA, VT, among others. Considering they play in a DIVISION where 3 national champions have emerged in the past 5 years...and TAMU is knocking on the door, that's competition. Name any other CONFERENCE that has had 3 NC winners? Much less a division. That being said, I wish Alabama and Stanford would tee it up, however, if one of them loses, the way it is now, it's over. Why risk it? Say Bama schedules Oregon, then has to face TAMU, LSU, Georgia, then the SECCG?

AllisGrace
AllisGrace

@beekay31 @mashley278 That's because bama is one of those schools that believes they are entitled to get their way. They always have and always will believe this. Similar to the way mashley278 in his response to you below tries to act like he is bestowing some knowledge to you by correcting your grammar, even though the word you used is choose and not loose. Yet he will not acknowledge his error even though it is right there in black and white. Figures.

zeebaneighba
zeebaneighba

@beekay31 Because they're afraid one of the MSU players will make an offhand remark about "attending class" and the Alabama players will go "Huh?"

mashley278
mashley278

@beekay31 and @billX - that is because "patsies" don't schedule that far out. So...nice try? I wonder if Oregon will cancel with Nicholls State or Ohio State with FAMU?

And it is LOSE, not LOOSE. Lose = "we are not going to lose this year" - LOOSE "your mother is loose". 

Anyway, bone up on your CFB knowledge fellas. 

atwood.t
atwood.t

@mashley278 @OwG Yeah, the 59-14 beat down of Tennessee by Oregon really showed the Pac-12 how tough the SEC is.  And, Auburn really showed the worst team in the Pac-12 last year, WSU how good the SEC is.  Try again.

DavidWayneHenley
DavidWayneHenley

Mistaking Savannah State for Appalachian State? Savannah State doesn't come close to beating anybody OOC. They haven't even finished the game, on occasion.

TheHip1
TheHip1

@JoeCabot @cenatheBEST Yes I do think teams want to play better schools, the rub comes from the SEC NEVER agreeing to play outside their timezone! Pac-12 schools travel East all the time and get forced to play 9a (PST) games (Stanford @ Army, UCLA @ Nebraska this year alone). Home and home with major conferences, no polls until week 5 is a good place to start.

TheHip1
TheHip1

@JoeCabot @TheHip1 West Coast teams would be happy to play HOME and HOME series but the SEC only wants to play in their backyard! Not quite the deal for the Best Coasters

TheHip1
TheHip1

@mashley278 @TheHip1 How many of those OOC games were played outside their backyard? Come West my friend and then we'll talk. The SEC stacks the deck in their favor and the media buys it. Why fear playing Stanford or Oregon? It is better for the game. Win or lose. The notion of only undefeated teams being NC worthy is not good for college football. The is the root of the problem.

FDowney
FDowney

@mashley278 @beekay31 Granted. So, the question is, how many OOC games for those years does Alabama now have scheduled? If it's a number less than 3, then cancelling with MSU still doesn't make any sense. 

And, once the playoff starts--since they've said right from the beginning that strength of schedule will count--you *will* see the Oregons and OSUs dropping the patsies. More so for them, because they don't get that assume-that-all-SEC-games-are-tough bias when judging their conference schedules.

RobSmith2
RobSmith2

@atwood.t.. you do realize that Tennessee is an SEC East team.. the West is comprised of Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss, Miss. St., & Alabama.. Not Tennessee.. pay attention

DavidandTracyAgee
DavidandTracyAgee

@atwood.t @mashley278 @OwG Oregon is great this year and TN isn't.  Basically that was the best team of the PAC12 against one of the worst teams of the SEC (this year and recently - in the past they were actually really good).  Unfortunately that game doesn't tell us anymore that we already knew.  As for WSU and Auburn neither has been very good lately but Auburn seems on the right track.  I think WSU may ultimately have a good year still not sure what USC is so hard to no how big a win that was for WSU.  Basically neither game tells anything other than last year's 2 worst teams have improved with the SEC team being better and Oregon is great and TN has a long way to go.

RobSmith2
RobSmith2

@TheHip1 or do you mean like how when teams travel west they have to adapt to late start times.. people in the NFL even complain about that.. they play those neutral site games at big stadiums because of revenue.. why do you think they are in Dallas.. and Atlanta.. (different time zones by the way).. it's the EXACT same reason why BCS games are scheduled in big venues in markets where there is a lot of revenue.. It's called money.. The Autzen Zoo.. fits like 55,000 people.. why would you scedule a home and home their with LSU (92,000) when you can go to Dallas (100,000) in a HUGE media markets where their school is on NATIONAL TELEVISION.. areas teeming with revenue.. you're an idiot kid.. you see how west coast schools.. and any other school for that matter  don't complain about these neutral site games right.. just idiot fans who have no clue

RobSmith2
RobSmith2

Cant be the best when you don't win.. other than USC (who was stripped)  who was the last team from the "Best Coasters" (which actually sounds really stupid) won the national title in football.. or basketball for that matter? I'll wait.. Come West for what.. there is no money to be made in your puny little stadiums.. with your non winning programs.. there's no winning history out there son.. THE SEC has won the most national titles as a conference

mashley278
mashley278

@TheHip1 @mashley278 Um...ok let me show you how dumb you are: At FSU, at PSU, at UCLA, at Oklahoma, neutral Clemson, neutral VT, neutral Michigan..should I go on?