Tuesday, March 20, 2012

MSU, Oregon to play football series in 2014-15

The Register-Guard (Ore.) first reported that MSU and Oregon are getting a jump-start on the Pac-12/Big Ten football series that will begin later this decade by holding a home-and-home football series in 2014 and 2015.

MSU athletics director Mark Hollis confirmed the series with a tweet, saying it would replace the previously-scheduled series with West Virginia due to the Mountaineers' transition to the Big 12. A release from MSU says WVU opted out of the contract to create more flexibility in its scheduling.

The teams will play in Eugene, Ore. in 2014 and in East Lansing in 2015.

"We look forward to adding Oregon to our future football schedule,” Hollis said in statement. “The series provides MSU alums on the West Coast with an opportunity to see the Spartans compete against one of the nation’s outstanding football programs. The relationship between the Big Ten and Pac-12 is built on common values and the Rose Bowl. We also look forward to bringing the Ducks back to Spartan Stadium, as we continue to compete for championships and national exposure.”

MSU and Notre Dame will not meet in the 2014 nor 2015 seasons. In 2015, MSU will play at Western Michigan and at home against Central Michigan as part of the "Celebrate the State" series. Over the next decade, MSU football will play series with Alabama, Boise State, Miami (Fl.), Oregon and the three Mid-American Conference schools in Michigan, hosting and traveling to at least one game each against all of those schools.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 will start a football series that includes every team in 2017. Oregon's program has risen to national prominence recently thanks to alumnus and Nike founder Phil Knight. Hollis has had a strong relationship with Nike during his time at MSU.

The Ducks and Spartans have held two home-and-home series before, with the home team winning the matchups in 1979-80 and 1998-99. The Ducks have played home-and-home series with Michigan, Wisconsin and Purdue over the last decade-plus.

Oregon has won the last three Pac-10/12 championships, losing to Ohio State in the 2010 Rose Bowl, losing to Auburn in the 2011 BCS National Championship and defeating Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl this past January.

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