COMMENTARY| The Michigan State Spartans-Oregon Ducks home-and-series beginning in 2014 will remain, despite the fact that the Big Ten and Pac-12 called off a scheduling agreement that was to start in 2017.
The Spartans and Ducks will meet in 2014 and 2015, giving the Michigan State and Oregon faithful a chance to reflect on a pair of games from the late 1990s.
Remember back to their previous meeting, and you'll have thoughts of an unforgettable game between the Spartans and Ducks that made safety Amp Campbell a college football hero. Campbell, who now coaches at Western Michigan, suffered a neck injury against Oregon in 1998, but came back in 1999 with an 85-yard fumble recovery, giving Michigan State a 23-20 lead in what eventually became a 27-20 victory at Spartan Stadium.
It was a play that I'll never forget. It was during the fall semester of my high school senior year, and I was glued to the TV set. Playing Oregon was a monumental event, I thought. Seeing Campbell rise above circumstances was inspiring.
I had the chance to interview Campbell on a few separate occasions, a real treat for me considering I closely followed his career. A few years back, I talked to Campbell about his neck injury. He suffered fractured C6 and 7 vertebrae -- nearly impossible to recover from.
He always stayed positive, never pondering the thought of his career being finished. The term "facing adversity" is used a lot these days. I can't think of a guy who embodies that fight better than Campbell.
"I never thought about it," Campbell said about his potentially career-ending hit. "This was my goal: my goal was to come back. I wanted to play well. One of my things is that I'm one of the biggest competitors out there. I felt like a lot of people didn't think I was able to do it."
It's been over a decade since the two programs met. Today's Spartans have likely heard of Campbell and his story. I can't help but think that his courage under fire will give Michigan State extra motivation when it comes to beating Oregon in the coming years.
Oregon has traditionally been one of the more exciting teams to watch. The Ducks' uniforms are usually a hit among fans, their style always electrifying and conducive for high-scoring affairs. Spartans followers eagerly anticipate their team's meeting Aug. 31 with Boise State, a team similar to Oregon when gauging the "wow" factor. But imagine the hype surrounding the Oregon game. It will be emotional, especially for the fans who remember Campbell.
While the Big Ten and Pac-12 won't engage in their planned series, Spartans fans will still get a chance to see their team play one of the best programs in the nation. At least some type of positive came out of the schedule conflict.
Adam Biggers has followed NCAA football for over 20 years, specifically the Michigan State Spartans. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.