Alabama Cancels 2016-17 Football Series vs. Michigan State

By Kevin Kelley -
Nick Saban

Nick Saban & Alabama may play a "big-name opponent" in 2016. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

The Alabama Crimson Tide have canceled their 2016-17 football series against the Michigan State Spartans, the Detroit Free Press has reported.

Alabama and Michigan State were scheduled to meet at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 3, 2016 and at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Sept. 2, 2017.

In a text message from MSU athletics director Mark Hollis to the Free Press, Hollis stated “Alabama requested to cancel the series due to uncertainty with the SEC schedule. While disappointed, in the spirit of collegiality, we agreed to the request.”

The uncertainty over the future scheduling format in the SEC as well as a potential nine-game conference schedule has Alabama and other teams dropping some games in order to start fresh.

Back in July, Alabama and Georgia Tech agreed to postpone their 2019-20 home-and-home series. New dates for the series have yet to be established.

And in May, South Carolina canceled their 2021-22 series against Georgia Tech.

In each instance, the “uncertainty” over future scheduling in the SEC was cited as the reason for postponement or cancellation.

Shortly after news broke of the Alabama-Michigan State cancellation, the Tuscaloosa News (via TideSports.com) reported that Alabama was in discussions to play a neutral-site game in 2016 against a “big-name opponent.”

Who might that opponent be? No names were mentioned, but some possibilities could include Texas, Ohio State, Notre Dame, USC, Florida State, Miami (FL), and Clemson. Stay tuned.

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31 Comments to Alabama Cancels 2016-17 Football Series vs. Michigan State

  1. Brandon said....

    Why not cancel one of the lower tier ooc games?

    September 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm
    • Kevin Kelley said....

      Because they require a buyout of $300K to over a million, depending on the contract. The Michigan State contract had not buyout, so Alabama was free to cancel and will now schedule a neutral site game in 2016 and another neutral or home game in 2017. It all comes down to money.

      September 26, 2013 at 10:09 pm
  2. Jinzo said....

    Because that is not the schedule easy cupcakes way….

    September 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm
    • PNB said....

      I hate Alabama more than you could understand Jinzo but you have no dog in this fight. Anyone that calls themselves an Idaho Vandals fan should have no opinion. I hope Auburn scores 70 when the boys from Moscow visit the Plains of East Alabama.

      Go TEMPLE beat those pesky vandals!

      September 26, 2013 at 8:22 pm
    • dsjj251 said....

      Because Bama didnt stomp #8 Michigan in Dallas last year ? how about the Home and away series they played with Penn State in 2010 and 2011 ? What about the 2 games in Atlanta vs Va Tech, Clemson in 2008 ? Florida State in Jacksonville in 2007 ?

      You are a moron Jinzo

      October 11, 2013 at 7:27 pm
  3. Chris K. said....

    Whether true or not, the general perception at most SEC schools is that the rigors of an SEC schedule are bad enough as it is. So, the rule of thumb is to schedule one major non-conference opponent per season. As a fan of Football in general, I’d prefer that all non-conference opponents were from other BCS conferences. As a lifelong fan of Alabama Football, I understand the desire to not drag these players through a slug-fest each and every week of the season. It’s a double-edged sword…..on one hand, by scheduling lower-tier opponents, we can sell more tickets ourselves and thereby make more money to fuel the program. On the other hand, the fans get a slightly lesser quality game; however, Bryant-Denny hasn’t hosted a non-sellout since the early 90’s.

    September 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm
  4. Bill (the one that's commenting for years not the newbie) sai said....

    Not the first time Saban reneged on a commitment to Michigan State,

    September 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm
  5. mdmost said....

    Texas can’t do it as we’ve already got home games with Notre Dame and UTEP (Longhorn Network broadcast no doubt, ugh) and an away game @ Cal. Don’t forsee us dropping any of those to play Bama. Frankly I’m sick of the neutral site games. Give me a good home and home series any day. Thankfully, we have Notre Dame, USC, and Ohio State as future home and homes.

    September 26, 2013 at 10:50 pm
  6. Thomas Martin said....

    I do believe that the SEC teams need to decide on what format they going to use for the games. I’m with “Nick Saban” on the 6-1-2 schedule. Let the students get a chance to play all the SEC teams, before worrying about the non-SEC teams. Sometimes, I think it’s crazy that programs can plan games 5 years from now, when not knowing what type of post-season might be in place, and/or a team changes coach or conference. When SOS (strength of schedule) is such a big deal in the BCS Standings, I think teams should wait before planning non-conference games for future schedules. ROLL TIDE!!!

    September 27, 2013 at 1:52 am
  7. Kyle said....

    So when SEC goes to 9 conference games (I assume they will) and schools have 5 Conference Road games will they not have a BCS non conference opponent or will they just have 6 home games. Seems like this extra conference game is gonna eliminate big non conference matchuos. I expect Alabama will play a neutral site game when they have 4 conference road games but not years they have 5.

    September 27, 2013 at 5:08 am
  8. Bill M said....

    Alabama’s schedule is not rigorous in any way this year so the days of using a bruising weekly SEC schedule to schedule bad non conference teams are over. It is now a 14 team league so most years they will have an easier conference slate than ever before by missing certain teams for years at a time. Hopefully they will get some good non conference teams to replace Michigan State and create some great games.

    September 27, 2013 at 11:47 am
  9. Travis B said....

    I am all for an increase in conference games but the crappy thing about it is that these will be the games cancelled and not the cupcake ones. I don’t mind every team playing a cupcake game at all but I can see the writing on the wall, AQ OOC games will be minimized.

    September 27, 2013 at 4:47 pm
  10. Jamie said....

    Can somebody explain to me how strength of schedule will factor into the upcoming playoff system? Wouldn’t logic dictate that Alabama would want to keep Michigan St. on the schedule and drop one of the cream puffs?

    September 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm
    • Kevin Kelley said....

      Nobody knows yet how strength of schedule will factor in. Alabama will still have a tough schedule because they’ll likely add a big time opponent at a neutral site.

      September 27, 2013 at 9:33 pm
  11. Brock said....

    Kevin Kelley: You sound like an Alabama apologist. ;)

    September 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm
  12. SPARTAN PRIDE said....

    THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ALABAMA OR IT’S TEAM. What a !@#$%. You left Michigan State with a Bowl Game in the wings to go to LSU, Lost the job and moved to the Miami Dolphins who fired your sorry behind, and you wound up at Alabama. SABEN, YOU SUCK. MSU WOULD HAVE KICKED YOUR SORRY BEHIND IF YOU WERE NOT SO AFRAID TO PLAY US, IZZO WAS RIGHT, PAYCHECK HUNGRY AND DO NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOUR STUDENTS. STATE WOULD RATHER PLAY AGAINST COACHES WHO HAVE SOME CLASS AND PRIDE IN THEIR TEAMS.
    GO STATE!

    October 5, 2013 at 9:19 am
    • ssx1 said....

      I’m a big Sparty fan and have no love for Satan, but I seriously doubt Saban’s past with MSU has nothing to do with cancelling the series or that they’re afraid to play State. Saban’s probably had very little to do with it, most likely it is all about the money and upcoming scheduling conflicts. Alabama didn’t have to spend a dime to cancel the games but would have had to spend hundreds of thousands to cancel games vs. FCS or non-AQ teams, so if the SEC changes the scheduling format they have more flexibility and won’t have to pay a ton of money. Plus, now they can schedule a big neutral-site game for millions in TV Royalties and fees from the host on a date that fits their schedule. Does it blow for fans? Yep. Does it make sense from a football fan’s perspective? Heck no! We want to see our team’s play against the best and have a good SOS come bowl selection – universities want money. That means scheduling as many guaranteed wins as possible so they don’t lose money from ticket sales, TV Royalties & bowl bids because fans don’t like losing. Big games bring in marginally more money than cupcakes, but a few early losses can mean millions when they’re not relevant in November and end up in the Little Caesars bowl instead of the Rose Bowl. It sucks but it is what it is.

      December 1, 2013 at 7:08 pm
  13. Claudia McEwen said....

    Well say what you feel Spartan Pride. We know Nick Saban cared less about his student athletes or Michigan State by when he walked away from them. That’s ok. We have a coach with integrity now, so ultimately he did us a favor. Michigan State made a big mistake by not entering into a contract with ‘Bama. Who really cares why they backed out? But, it would have been nice to make $300k or so anyway. Alabama probably is thinking that MSU may not make much of an opponent. Who knows how they’ll be, 3 or 4 years from now but things sure have been getting better in the past 4,5,6 years. That is definite! Go Green! The Spartan Nation has your back. Spartan fans are fans for life!

    November 22, 2013 at 9:06 pm
  14. Spliffin McGnugget said....

    Coaches & schedules change, much to the butt hurt of Spartans, Tigers, & Dolphins fans. Hilarity ensues. Roll Tide

    December 23, 2013 at 9:52 am
  15. rdbig said....

    bama plays a good enough schedule each year.they schedule a big name opponent each year.can’t cut off all the cupcakes, mainly cuz they could use the money ..

    February 10, 2014 at 8:30 pm
  16. UrbanMeyerHater said....

    Saban is an average coach – put any coach with the talent Bama gets and they will win 10 to 12 games by accident. Be real people – look at Sabans record before he got to Bama – Joe average – Alabama created Saban – he didnt create Bama !!

    March 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm
    • SpartanWithoutaGrudge said....

      Saban was 10-1 at Toledo and won a NC at LSU. He worked miracles at MSU winning with 60-70 scholarship players and on probation. Saban recruited a large percentage of MSU’s great players in his years at MSU under Perles and was the D-coordinator that had the best Defenses in the Big Ten 1984-1987. You can hate Saban for leaving MSU but to say Alabama “made” him is nonsense. He was admired and respected by his peers in College and NFL for many years before he went to Alabama and was a proven winner. Alabama just provides the tradition, prestige and commitment that allows Saban’s teams dominate the best league in College.

      May 5, 2014 at 6:07 pm
  17. RTRviaSeattle said....

    Oh Sparty … bless your heart. Haven’t we heard big talk from you before? How quickly you forget how it played out at the 2011 Capitol One Bowl … ALABAMA 49 MSU 7. Here’s a reminder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSL3AY0y6OU.

    June 28, 2014 at 8:38 pm

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