UNIVERSITY PARK Its a rivalry based not on historic bad blood, confounded not by geography and seldom embraced by either fanbase.
But Penn State and Michigan State loyalists will again get the opportunity to question why two schools located over 350 miles apart and now situated in different conference divisions call what was previously an annual meeting the Land Grant Rivalry Game when the Nittany Lions and Spartans resume their series in 2015 and 2016.
The Big Ten released its football schedules for the 2015 and 2016 seasons on Monday morning and the Spartans return to Penn States schedule after a six-year hiatus.
Penn State will play at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Nov. 14 while Michigan State travels to Beaver Stadium for a Nov. 12 game the following year.
In 2015, Penn State will host Illinois, Purdue, Iowa and Nebraska and will play road games at Ohio State, Indiana and Wisconsin to close out the season. All of those Big Ten opponents will carry over to the 2016 schedule with the game sites flipped. The Nittany Lions will play at Illinois, Purdue, Iowa and Nebraska and will host Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin in 2016.
Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993 and began a tradition of playing the Spartans on an annual basis, a custom that continued until the reorganization of the league following the 2010 season. When Nebraska joined the Big Ten, the leagues split into the Leaders and Legends Divisions with Penn State slotting into the Leaders Division and Michigan State into the Legends.
The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series against the Spartans 14-13-1 and hold a 13-5 record in Land Grant Trophy games since 1993.
The Spartans currently possess the Land Grant trophy after they won the last meeting 28-22 on Nov. 27, 2010.
As a bookend to the regular season, the Nittany Lions and Spartans met in the final week until their last meeting. Although the Spartans are back on the schedule for 2015 and 2016, Penn State will finish its regular season against Wisconsin in each of the next five seasons.