Huntington Bank (HBAN) is joining with Michigan State University to give fans of the school's football team a new way to show their pride.

The Columbus, Ohio company said Monday it will issue a Spartans-themed debit card that displays the university's helmet logo and ties to any of Huntington's consumer checking accounts.

The launch coincides with Huntington's plan to open eight branches inside Meijer stores throughout the Lansing area, home of the university, in the coming year.

"We expect the Spartans debit card to become a popular choice among our state of Michigan customers and with Michigan State students, alumni and fans throughout our markets," John Irwin, Huntington's West Michigan president, said in a press release.

Michigan State, which competes in college football's Big Ten Conference, had roughly 461,000 alumni worldwide in 2011, according to the school's alumni association. The team, which finished last season with a break-even record, plays at home before roughly 75,000 fans.

Huntington, which has assets of $56 billion, joins other banks that have teamed up with universities to market their debit cards to football fans. Regions Financial (RF) and BBVA Compass (BBVA) issue debit cards tied to the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide.

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