When Florida Atlantic and Michigan State originally agreed to a three-game series in football, the plan was for two games to be at Spartan Stadium and another to be at FAU's new stadium. In 2008, the first game of the series went off without a hitch (aside from the non-stop rain) in East Lansing, with the Spartans winning 17-0.
This year's meeting between the two teams was supposed to be down in Florida for the first game in the new FAU Football Stadium. Because the opening of the new stadium was delayed a year, however, FAU was forced to move the game and decided to have it played at Ford Field in Detroit instead. While there's no doubt who the home team will be in reality, FAU is the home team on paper and will get a pretty good payday from it.
FAU has turned a negative into a positive by having the game at Ford Field, which will be a good thing revenue-wise. For Michigan State, having the game moved from Florida to Detroit was obviously a huge plus for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest is because they will have a homefield advantage at Ford Field and can turn this game into a weekend-long event for "Spartans in the D."
“Looking at the big picture, this is another chance for MSU to have a presence in the biggest market in the state,” said athletics director Mark Hollis, who also noted the economic impact the game could have on the city if large numbers of fans attend.
Paul Schager, MSU’s associate athletics director for external relations, said that MSU’s vision for the “Spartans in the D” weekend involves working with the city of Detroit and Ford Field to promote the activities that Detroit has to offer, while highlighting MSU’s presence there that weekend.
For example, a Detroit Tigers game against the Baltimore Orioles takes place that day, and fans will be encouraged to walk down the street to Comerica Park to watch. The Tigers game starts at 7:05 p.m., and MSU’s kickoff is at noon, giving fans time to catch both events.
Florida Atlantic will return to East Lansing next year to finish off the three-game series with the Spartans. The Owls could also be back in Michigan in 2012, as it was rumored that they will play in Ann Arbor against the Wolverines in two years. That game hasn't been confirmed yet, however.