The Big Ten released the 2015/16 schedules today, and my first reaction was that the MSU schedules are very similar to 2011/12.
Here's the 2015 Big Ten schedule for MSU:
Oct. 3 Michigan
Oct. 10 at Iowa
Oct. 17 at Ohio State
Oct. 24 Indiana
Oct. 31 at Nebraska
Nov. 7 Bye
Nov. 14 Penn State
Nov. 21 at Northwestern
Nov. 28 Minnesota
Here is 2016:
Oct. 1 at Michigan
Oct. 8 Iowa
Oct. 15 Ohio State
Oct. 22 at Indiana
Oct. 29 Nebraska
Nov. 5 Bye
Nov. 12 at Penn State
Nov. 19 Northwestern
Nov. 26 at Minnesota
(Here are the 2012/13/14 schedules)
MSU will play the same teams these two seasons as they did/will in 2011/12, with Penn State (remember them?) replacing Wisconsin. Compared to 2013/14, MSU will replace Purdue/Illinois with Ohio State and Penn State. The Land Grant trophy will (presumably) be on the line for the first time in five years when MSU and PSU meet in East Lansing on Nov. 14, 2015. After this coming season, the #borderbattle with Wisconsin will go on hiatus for five years. I'm sure MSU is happy about that, but it will stop what was becoming a great rivalry.
A reminder: Indiana is MSU's permanent division-crossover game. You can just feel the rivalry hatred oozing out of the Old Brass Spittoon.
The other major point is that MSU will open up the Big Ten seasons with rival Michigan, which has to be considered a disappointment. In these two years, the game's meaning in the standings won't really be known until later in the season. Given how early it is in the season, could it possibly be a night game? I wouldn't plan on it.
Considering MSU will have nonconference games against Alabama, Oregon and Notre Dame over the two years, the first seven games of the season are going to be a real challenge. Games against Indiana and the MAC schools should help, but who knows how teams will look five years down the road.
As for the home/road difference, it is pretty balanced when you include the nonconference games.
Overall, the schedule looks quite difficult (if you go by current program standing), but it appears this is how the scheduling is going to be. For MSU, the 2011/12 schedules are really difficult, but the 2013/14 schedules are much easier. (Seriously, MSU could be a national championship contender in 2013).
Then again, if the ACC implodes and we get to four superconferences, none of this will matter. Tradition!