Michigan State Spartans athletic director Mark Hollis announced that the Alabama Crimson Tide have chosen to cancel their upcoming home-and-home series, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press.
The games were originally scheduled to occur in 2016 and 2017, and now the nation misses out on seeing Nick Saban go up against his former team, which he coached from 1995-1999.
While teams are usually jeered for canceling upcoming series with big-time nonconference opponents, both schools have played their share of difficult games in recent years.
Alabama faced Virginia Tech this season and Michigan in 2012. Michigan State was paid a visit by Boise State to open up their own 2012 campaign, and the Spartans still have a home-and-home with Oregon set to begin next year.
Saban's team also has West Virginia on the schedule next season and Wisconsin set for 2015.
Still, while both teams have big nonconference games up ahead, the fans miss out on what could be a thrilling two games. Michigan State has one of the few defenses that, if it maintained its reputation, could have slowed down the Tide.
Plus, everybody wants a shot at Alabama, because a win over the back-to-back champs could potentially vault a program forward into a new era.
The Tide canceled the series due to uncertainty in the SEC schedule. The Big Ten will be moving to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016, and Hollis is left scrambling a bit after the cancellation (per the Detroit Free Press).
“We are working toward resolving a number of complexities with our future schedule as it pertains to a nine-game Big Ten schedule,” Hollis wrote. “Regardless, we are looking to strengthen our schedule with on-campus games.”
Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports thinks this could be an indication that the SEC is moving closer toward having its own nine-game conference schedule.
In any case, both teams could look a lot different in four to five years, as is typically the case when nonconference games are scheduled so far in advance.
The unranked Spartans are off this week, while top-ranked Alabama plays host to Ole Miss.