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East Lansing — Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis has routinely pushed for the importance of strength of schedule in college football and Wednesday he added another impressive piece to the Spartans' upcoming slate of games.

Michigan State will play a home-and-home series with BYU, beginning Oct. 8, 2016, at Spartan Stadium and concluding Sept. 12, 2020 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. It will be the first time the teams have met.

"We continue to be aggressive and innovative in our approach to nonconference scheduling, as we seek to bring the top programs in college football to our state as well as provide our student-athletes with an opportunity to compete nationally at the highest level," Hollis said in a statement. "The BYU series also provides MSU Alums in the Rockies and West with an opportunity to see the Spartans play against a national program."

The move sets Michigan State's 2016 schedule as it opens against Furman on Sept. 3 in Spartan Stadium. Following a bye week, the Spartans will travel to Notre Dame on Sept. 17.

Michigan State had scheduled Eastern Michigan in 2016 and 2020, but Eastern pulled out of that agreement, according to Michigan State associate athletic director John Lewandowski.

The BYU game in October did require the shifting of a Big Ten game and Michigan State will now play Wisconsin on Sept. 24, a game that was originally scheduled for Oct. 8. The 2016 season also marks the Big Ten's return to a nine-game conference schedule for the first time since 1982-84, and after playing Wisconsin in September, Michigan State will travel to Indiana on Oct. 1 before concluding its nonconference schedule against BYU on Oct. 8.

The BYU series joins a growing resume of impressive nonconference matchups for Michigan State, which will also play Arizona State (2018-19), Miami-Fla. (2020-21) and Boise State (2022-23) as well as the extension of its series with Notre Dame (2016-17, 2023, 2026-27).

"I'm excited about this series with one of the best programs in the Big Ten," BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe said in a statement. "We haven't played many games in the Great Lakes region and I like scheduling schools like Michigan State that we've never played in football. It's fun for Cougar Nation and it's exciting for our coaches and players."

2015 MSU SCHEDULE

Sept. 4, at Western Michigan

Sept. 12, Oregon

Sept. 19, Air Force

Sept. 26, Central Michigan

Oct. 3, Purdue

Oct. 10, at Rutgers

Oct. 17, at Michigan

Oct. 24, Indiana

Nov. 7, at Nebraska

Nov. 14, Maryland

Nov. 21, at Ohio State

Nov. 28, Penn State

2016 MSU SCHEDULE

(First season of nine-game Big Ten schedule.)

Sept. 3, Furman

Sept. 17, at Notre Dame

Sept. 24, Wisconsin

Oct. 1, at Indiana

Oct. 8, BYU

Oct. 15, Northwestern

Oct. 22, at Maryland

Oct. 29, Michigan

Nov. 5, at Illinois

Nov. 12, Rutgers

Nov. 19, Ohio State

Nov. 26 at Penn State

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