Land Grant Rivalry set to resume in 2015-16

By Kevin Kelley -
Michigan State vs. Penn State (2010)

With the release of the 2015-16 Big Ten football schedule yesterday, the Land Grant rivalry between Michigan State and Penn State is set to resume.

Michigan State will host Penn State at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Nov. 14, 2015. The Spartans will then travel to face the Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium in University Park on Nov. 12, 2016.

The winner of the contest receives the Land Grant Trophy, which features pictures of Penn State’s Old Main and Michigan State’s Beaumont Tower. Michigan State currently holds the trophy after beating Penn State 28-22 in 2010.

The rivalry game began back in 1993 when Penn State joined the Big Ten Conference. Michigan State was designated as their permanent rival at the time, and the two met each season on the last week of conference play.

With the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten in 2011, the Land Grant rivalry was postponed. Michigan State was placed in the Legends Division and Penn State in the Leaders Division and the two were not designated as permanent rivals. Instead, Michigan State was paired with Indiana while Penn State was paired with Nebraska.

Under the current division setup and 8-game conference schedule, Michigan State and Penn State will compete for the Land Grant Trophy only four times every ten years.

Penn State leads the overall series between the two schools 14-13-1.

Football Schedules:

Comments (11)

Oh please,

as a Spartan alum and fan, let me make clear that this is the most contrived unnatural rivalry of all. There is no history between the teams prior to 1991. There isn’t even any real history of both teams being up at the same time so they were competing for the same major bowl birth.

This rivalry is based o the obscure fact that when each state was getting a land grant college; Michigan got theirs first and Pennsylvania got theirs second.

In actuality, these two teams were the odd ones out in the 11 team big 10 after the natural rivalries (U-M/OSU)(Ind/Pur)(Ill/NW)and the 3 team rotation of Iowa/Minn/Wisc were accounted for. Among MSU fans this game is nowhere near as significant as the UM game, nor is it as popular as OSU, or Wisconsin. State College to Lansing State is an expensive flight requiring a connection on commuter aircraft, or an 8 hour drive. neither East Lansing or State College has an abundance of hotel rooms, so their is only a tiny presence of fans for the visiting team.

Let’s face the facts and quit calling this a rivalry. At best it is another trophy game. And in the B1G, trophy games are a dime a dozen.

I know these two aren’t serious rivals, but when you play for a trophy it’s usually referred to as a rivalry game. Plus it was a slow news morning.

As a Penn State fan the feeling is mutual. Although I got used to and enjoy the competition and tradition the B1G offers,I too don’t feel any rivalry with MSU. Perhaps as the years go on and if we meet in the B1G championship game some day maybe a rivalry can be born. But it’s hard hating a team that never did anything to you. MSU was always the odd one out in the B1G because they never had an end of the season arch rival game.And in reference to how they are not geographicly a rival. That shouldn’t matter. Penn State is more rivals and has a history with Nebraska and Iowa than it does with MSU.When Penn State joined the B1G we gave up our instate rival with Pitt(now these two hate each other). Partly because of Joe Paterno’s grudge that he had with Pitt and the Big East. I hope that rivalry will reestablish itself. Then Penn State will have an instate mutual rivalry to call its own again and MSU can go on its merry way and play Indiana as its arch rival……We Are..!

Kevin—My complaint was not with you calling it a rivalry. I think you do a great job reporting news like this.

The gripe is about how both schools try try and try again to hype this game into something that it isn’t. It seems like it is more of an arranged marriage, than a true love story.

I used to have a college roommate who was a serious Penn State fan, and it always seemed like Michigan State was the team Penn State looked forward to playing the most (aside from Ohio State, but I’m not sure if there’s a rivalry there). But the Land-Grant Rivalry seems really one-sided – probably because Penn State joined the Big Ten decades after most of trophy games had already been established. Besides, MSU has an in-state rivalry with UM, and that’s far more exciting to watch than any Penn State game.


Even a trophy game does not automatically make a rivalry. I consider myself a major fan (Like most everyone on this site). In 2010, I even scheduled surgery around MSU’s bye week as the hospital didn’t have Big Ten Network. I have not misses a MSU game on TV since they played Rice in 2002 (wasn’t televised, I listened on streaming radio).

I list my credentials to point out that even I do not know of all the MSU trophy games. I knew of the UM (Paul Bunyan trophy) and the Land grant, but I had no idea until I just looked it up that there are trophy games against IU and ND too.

My point is that MSU has bigger rivalries with Wisconsin (history of close games) and OSU (our enemy’s enemy)than we do with IU. The trophy we get for beating up a weak IU team each year is irrelevant.

That’s irrelevant. Those team’s might not be real “rivals”, but the games played (or not played due to the NCAA’s opinion) were spirited football games. Not as interesting as OSU playing…well…anyone.

I’m not certain that the game IS for the trophy. I thought that I read that the trophy had been retired when the annual series ended, meaning that the trophy is now in MSU’s permanent possession.

Is it possible to confirm that?