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23 days to football: MSU's non-conference schedule for the future


Photo by: The Dispatch File Photo




Every day from 99 days out (May 25) until kickoff, I'll put up a post telling you how many days until kickoff and breaking down something about the upcoming season related to that number.  


Today, since we are 23 days away from kickoff, we take a look at: Thanks to the good work of the athletic department, MSU already has its non-conference schedule set as far out as 2023. So we look at what MSU has in its future non-conference schedules and the holes to fill. 




Let's break this down by year: 


- 2019: UL Lafayette in New Orleans, Southern Miss, Kansas State and Abilene Christian 


- 2020: Alcorn State, at NC State, Tulane and UMass 


- 2021: Louisiana Tech, NC State, at Memphis and Eastern Illinois 


- 2022: Northwestern State, at Arizona, Memphis (one game left to go) 


- 2023: Southeastern Louisiana, Arizona, Southern Miss and at Tulane 


Going further than that for big games, MSU has home-and-homes set up with Arizona State (road 2024, home 2025), Minnesota (road 2026, home 2027) and Texas Tech (home 2028, road 2029). There's also a home-and-home with Troy in 2026 and 2027, and the two Southern Miss games you see up there are part of a three-game agreement, the final being in Hattiesburg in 2025. 


So, the holes left to fill: that final non-conference game in 2022, which is an interesting one. MSU has a long track record of only playing one FCS team per season and clearly has plans to keep that going, so it probably won't dip to the FCS ranks with Northwestern State already on that schedule. It already has a Power 5 game and one that's on the road. Does MSU dip into the Group of 5 conferences for a one-off here? It seems to be the only option if the FCS thing is not an option. 


The FCS slot is still available on every schedule from 2025 and beyond. So, from here, most of MSU's far future scheduling work is going to lie in that and in the Group of 5 department, getting teams from those ranks to fill out the 2022, 2024 and 2025 schedules. 


There is one wild card, though: the 2026-2029 schedules do not have opening weekend games set, as the Minnesota and Texas Tech home-and-homes are Week 2 games. We've seen MSU go FCS here before, but in my talk with John Cohen from this summer, he did not take the idea of a blockbuster neutral site game off the table. It sure would be fun to see MSU take on a big neutral site game and then another Power 5 opponent -- sometimes one on the road -- in the first two weeks of the season. 


Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson



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