Michigan State no longer NEEDS Notre Dame on its schedule as it once did.
Should the Irish's new football scheduling arrangement with the Atlantic Coast Conference result in a dramatic reduction in games against MSU, it should be welcome news for the Spartans. The program's gradually gaining a higher national profile and should concentrate more on extending its nonconference scheduling reach.
All we heard this week, upon Notre Dame's announcement that it would join the ACC for all sports except football and hockey, was how “Notre Dame was still NOTRE DAME.” And how if the Irish weren't still nationally relevant, why was everybody talking about them this week?
They're confusing volume with validity. In a 24/7 sports media culture, you'll embellish anything that consumes time and space.
Notre Dame's national value is strictly economic. That's its relevance. It can still push the television ratings needle. It's like the Big Ten in that regard. But if you're not regularly contending for BCS championships, you aren't a factor in the only college football discussion that matters today.
Notre Dame's not a factor.
Michigan State can do better, because beating Notre Dame no longer carries the cache it did maybe 20 years ago.
The Spartans have future nonconference home-and-home meetings with Alabama and Oregon, programs far more competitive than the Irish.
Notre Dame isn't on the Spartans' nonconference schedule for 2014-15, before returning for at least another four years. But it's possible that Notre Dame's new commitment to schedule five ACC opponents, while maintaining its desire to play USC and the service academies annually, might make those Big Ten scheduling commitments more difficult to meet.
That shouldn't hurt the Spartans.
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