Since the SEC's recent announcement that it would require all schools to play a "power 5" non-conference game before 2016, there has been a big focus in the athletic department on scheduling a game of this nature to meet the requirement. Scott Stricklin discussed on Head to Head recently that the school had been trying to schedule a series with Notre Dame, but there have been no updates since that discussion on that front (I'm willing to bet the Irish aren't too keen on traveling to Starkville for a return).
Even more recent than the Notre Dame discussion, there were rumors circulating that State would make such an announcement today, and that turned out to be partially true. Mississippi State did announce today that it would play the Arizona Wildcats in a home-and-home series, but the series is set to begin in 2022, not 2016.
#Arizona, #Mississippi State schedule home/home series, source told @ESPN; 2022 at UA, 2023 at MSU— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) June 5, 2014
Brett McMurphy was the first to have it (to my knowledge), and the schools both made it official with press releases of their own shortly after.
The move is a pretty neat one from a historical perspective since State doesn't play many games against the Pac-12. The last meeting against the conference was a home-and-home with Oregon in 2002 and 2003 (the height of our football success). The other notable caveat about this arrangement has to do with Arizona AD Greg Byrne - the former Mississippi State AD before Scott Stricklin took over. Overall I think this will be a great addition to the schedule, and a game that should be competitive.
I say should be competitive, of course, because the series is eight years away from starting. Who the heck knows what either team will be like when it starts. That length of time does diminish some of the "excitement" around the announcement for me, but still, good work by both ADs to make this happen.
The Arizona series announcement aside, MSU finds itself - at least as far as we, the public, are aware - looking for a 2016 non-conference game against either the ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, or Pac-12. While State does still have some time to get an agreement in place, hopefully we'll know something sooner rather than later on who MSU will be taking on in the 2016 season.