One of the best discounts this Black Friday will be the Michigan State Senior Day experience, which is now at least 75% decreased from its original face value.

Rather than saying their goodbyes to the program at Spartan Stadium, Michigan State seniors will now be doing so at Detroit’s Ford Field. The annual season-ending showdown with Penn State has been moved indoors to accommodate a primetime kickoff on NBC the night after Thanksgiving.

It stinks.

But it’s the price to be paid for the Big Ten’s monster new media rights contract. The networks will insist on certain games at certain times, wresting full control away from the schools hosting the games. There’s a reason it’s called “selling out.”

As we learned earlier this week, much — if not all — of the blame for this lies at the feet of former commissioner Kevin Warren.

Warren reportedly didn’t bother consulting any of his member schools about their willingness to host night games in November. In previous media contracts, schools had the ability to opt out of such games. These opt-outs were known as “tolerances.”

Changing something that significant seems like the type of thing you should warn the people who are affected by your decisions about. But Warren didn’t.

“NBC was surprised, and I was surprised,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel told ESPN’s Pete Thamel in a recent story detailing the shortcomings of Warren’s negotiations. “We had not discussed, and I had not discussed with anyone in the league, to change the tolerances we had agreed upon years ago.”

November noon games in the Big Ten are often tolerable, and on rare occasions still downright pleasant. But the longer after sun goes down, the greater the chance of misery.

So, it makes plenty of sense for Michigan State to move this game to Ford Field.

But it still stinks.

Campus experience is college football’s strength

The Minnesota Golden Gophers played at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome from 1982-2011. At the time, stuffing as many teams as possible into the same facility was a popular thing to do.

But as we learned during those dark ages, something about that philosophy doesn’t click in terms of fan experience.

Maybe it’s the strange acoustics of a marching band bouncing back off of a Teflon roof. Or the strange sight of watching Iowa fans trying to figure out how to get out of your building with a goal post.

By all accounts, there was a time Gopher football pushed the sports needle in Minnesota. Even if it was coincidence rather than causation, that wasn’t the case by the end of the Metrodome era. The Gophers were very much the third-place team at the Metrodome behind the Vikings and Twins.

The football team needed to be re-anchored to campus.

Thanks to Huntington Bank Stadium, Minnesota feels like a proper college football program again. And now PJ Fleck has the Gophers winning games at a rate that hasn’t been reached since their long-ago days on campus.

Minnesota’s story is a microcosm of how much moving from campus to a dome can change the college football viewing experience. And that’s within the same city.

It’ll be far more drastic going from East Lansing to Detroit, though thankfully it’s just for 1 game.

No more winter wonderland

The irony here is that the last time Penn State visited Michigan State, it made for the most visually appetizing Big Ten game this decade.

Truly, it was eye candy.

As always, Penn State wore all-white on the road. The Spartans donned white helmets on top of an all-green uniform. And as the game progressed, the green on the field was overcome by the white falling from the sky.

A Spartan Stadium snow globe.

The snowstorm did nothing to detract from the quality of the game, which was a 30-27 Michigan State win. Sean Clifford still threw for 313 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kenneth Walker III rushed for 138 yards. Jayden Reed made one of the catches of the year for a 4th-down touchdown.

The reason that play happened? Because the snow made going for it easier than kicking a chip-shot field goal.

Move the game indoors, and the Spartans probably settle for a 26-20 lead. Which means they possibly lose.

Instead, the combination of crazy conditions and a great game turned Penn State-Michigan State’s 2021 meeting into a classic.

Maybe we’ll still get a great game at Ford Field. But it’s unlikely to burn itself as deeply into the collective memory.

Making lemons from lemonade

Michigan State will undoubtedly make the best of the situation.

Senior Day festivities seem likely to move up to Nov. 4 against Nebraska. It may feel weird with 3 games left on the schedule, but at least it might not be freezing.

There’s also an opportunity to turn the Detroit game into a full-fledged event. The Lions, of course, play at home every Thanksgiving. The Michigan high school championship games will now be played on Saturday and Sunday to accommodate Michigan State’s Friday game.

Even if this is a one-off event, it could benefit Michigan State. If there’s any weekend to have a game in Detroit, it’s the weekend where the majority of students are visiting their families in the Detroit area.

Having a tie-in with the Lions is beneficial from a visibility perspective. Playing on Friday gives the Spartans a chance to temporarily redirect the spotlight that will always shine on Michigan and Ohio State the next day. And playing in the same venue as the high school championship games is obviously a benefit from a recruiting standpoint.

Something will always be lost when a college game is played at an NFL venue. Most noticeably, the soul of the thing.

But if you’re going to lose your soul, you might as well get something in return. At least Michigan State is likely to reap some rewards from this move, and not just financially.

But those of us who are neutral and longing for that snowy scene in East Lansing? We’ll have to wait another couple of years for a reprise.