Dreaming Up Future Non-Conference Opponents

By Joe Beale on May 23, 2013 at 11:30a

The undefeated season of 2012 worked wonders for the swagger of Ohio State's football program, and even more so for their enormous fan base. Even before the season was over, Buckeye Nation (the real thing, not the ESPiN OSU page that has little more than links to premium content) was starting to dream of a 2013 BCS Championship matchup with Nicky Satan's Tide or some other SEC bogeyman. It seems that the post-season script for the Buckeyes is already written and it resembles the football equivalent of Sherman's March.

"Blow, blow Seminole wind, blow like you're never gonna blow again."Here's a non-conference road game that might get some attention.

The only problem with that equation is that another undefeated run won't necessarily get the Buckeyes into a position to win the championship. The reason? In a word: S.O.S. By that I mean "Strength of Schedule", not that tasty dish that guys who serve in the U.S. Army are intimately familiar with.

The somewhat lackluster performance of the Big Ten conference teams in bowl games over the past few years is well documented, but this year OSU's out-of-conference schedule is even worse. It is doubtful that poll voters are going to be impressed by the likes of Buffalo, San Diego State, Cal, or Florida A&M. 

Things start to improve a bit in 2014 when Navy and Virginia Tech appear on the schedule (VaTech is also on for 2015). It gets even better in 2016 when the Buckeyes travel to Norman, OK to play the Sooners, and there are some other interesting OOC games as you get down the list. But there are also some open dates scattered over the next few seasons after 2014 that will need to be filled.

While I am intrigued by the games against Beamer's Hokies, and I'm absolutely stoked to get a crack at Babyface Bobby Stoops and the boys, there are also a few other matchups I think would be good for our program. Specifically, these are teams that a) OSU has never played (hard to find), or b) OSU has played in the past but not for a while (a little easier), or c) teams that beat Ohio State in the past and thus are deserving of some payback (piece of cake).

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it's not meant to be. I'm putting some of my dream matchups out there and then turning it over to you to help come up with a few more. My list is after the jump.

Florida State

The last time Ohio State fans saw the Seminoles of FSU, they were pounding OSU 31-14 in the 1998 Sugar Bowl and making a mockery of John Cooper's guarantee of victory. Prior to that, they beat the Buckeyes in Columbus in consecutive seasons (1981-82), the only team that has done that in my lifetime. If there was ever a program that was in need of some payback, this is it.

Florida State's program is much more prominent than they were back in the early 80s, and so it's unlikely that they would be willing to come to Columbus again without OSU repaying the favor by journeying to Tallahassee. But I would actually love to see the Buckeyes go down there and scalp the 'Noles in their own stadium, if only to enjoy the entrance of Chief Osceola prior to the game, one of college football's best pre-game traditions.

West Virginia

This is a program that fell on hard times in 2012, going 7-6 after a sterling 2011 season in which they went 10-3, including a 70-33 whipping of #15 Clemson. Ohio State last saw the Mountaineers in 1998, where the #1 ranked Buckeyes went to Morgantown and thumped them 34-17. Overall, OSU is 5-1 against WVU, with the only loss coming back in 1897.

"The headset messes up my comb-over!"Face turning purple in 3...2...1...

Mountaineer football has come a ways since that nationally televised loss, and it is likely that a game against them would be highly entertaining. Both WVU and OSU run a spread offense and they typically feature dynamic quarterback play. Ohio State will have a talent advantage due to superior recruiting but in a back-and-forth game with lots of scoring, anything could happen.

Notre Dame

A few years ago, this game would have been a yawner. But with Brian Kelly at the helm, the Irish are (seemingly) back to their fighting ways. After going 8-5 in his first two seasons as head coach in South Bend, Kelly led ND to the promised land of the BCS Championship game before getting his head handed to him by Satan. 

Ohio State and Notre Dame famously resumed their long-dormant rivalry in the mid-90s, leading to a pair of memorable victories for John Cooper and the boys. And of course, the last time the two teams met OSU racked up over 600 yards of offense against Charlie Weis's hapless defense on their way to a 34-20 win in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl. Wouldn't it be nice to lay that kind of beating on them again?


This is another team that is sorely in need of a payback. Ohio State and LSU had a home-and-home series back in the 80s, and Jeff just chronicled the second of those games last week. The first game was in Baton Rouge, and that one ended in memorable fashion as the Tigers blocked a potential game-winning OSU field goal to preserve a 13-13 tie.

Of course, the last time we saw Ohio State play LSU it was in the BCS Championship game following the 2007 season, and we all know how that ended. OSU out-gained Les Miles and the Tigers on paper but a slew of mistakes and a lack of poise led to a second consecutive big-game embarrassment.  It would be nice to see LSU travel to Columbus again, and maybe if they did, Ohio State might consider wearing white so that Les Miles's troops would have to wear the hated purple jerseys.

There's my short list. I asked some of my friends and they made some other good suggestions like Georgia, Texas A&M, Stanford, Missouri, etc. I'd be interested in seeing what the 11W commentariat comes up with. Who would you like to see on OSU's OOC slate in the future?


Comments Show All Comments

gwalther's picture

FSU and LSU: yes, and yes.
Would like to throw on some lower-half SEC schools and start smacking them around a bit. So, schedule Auburn, Miss State, Tennessee. It'd (if we're successful) start cutting the legs out from under the "SEC is so superior" commentary.

Class of 2008

Buckeye06's picture

My list:
Clemson (we were close to this I think for a kickoff classic maybe??)
In that order I think. 

Bucksfan's picture

Going back over the Ohio State's schedules, the Buckeyes used to play TCU almost every year, strangely enough. Now that they're in the Big XII, it might be cool to revisit that (even though most people who remember those games are probably almost dead).  Florida State is a good call.  It'd be cool to see Clemson on the schedule.
And of course I want USC on the schedule more often.  We haven't beaten those $poiled brats in 4 decades, and the 2009 game was something for which I will never forgive Tressel and his staff...ever.  We need wins over the Trojans.  Period.

labuck's picture

I think TCU is right around the corner in 2021 and 2022

BTwrestle04's picture

2018 @ TCU and 2019 @ Home.

Triv's picture

TCU was the school a certain OSU administrator called out, correct?

Sorry Urban, Woody is still my favorite

TMac's picture

FLA - Payback & great storylines
'Bama & Satan

ONE Not Done!

Hovenaut's picture

West Virginia and Notre Dame make sense, but the 'Neers went west and Notre Dame doesn't like to play OSU very much for some reason.

Would like to see the southern schools more often, agree with who's already been listed.

Payback against USC would be nice, but I don't see them posing much of a challenge under Kiffin.

cplunk's picture

Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Auburn, Arkansas- it is time to put paid to the idea that SEC dominance is anybody other then Saban, Miles and Meyer. 
Don't schedule Bama. We'll catch them in the playoff. I want to expose the teams below Bama and LSU. 

Psychranger's picture

Careful what you ask for. If you think that Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Texas A&M are a soft underbelly, you're in dreamland. Go ask Coach Meyer and he'll enlighten you. It amazes me how many Buckeye Fans vent their frustration about the SEC's reputation rather than directing it towards the many B1G schools mired in inconsistency and mediocrity yr after yr. and are happy with a 7-5 season and a trip to some lousy bowl   . The B1G's problem isn't the SEC, it's the B1G having so many programs that don't demand excellence and a chance to play for the National Championship. I'm glad Michigan is recruiting well, because besides them and OSU, only Nebraska will even have a recruiting class in the top 35.  Listen to our Head Coach. He knows the deal. 


theobi's picture

Florida State
Notre Dame

fear_the_nut70's picture

Don't expect to see ND any time soon.  With that new ACC deal and them desperately trying to preserve games like Purdue and Navy on their schedule, i don't see Notre Lame adding OSU to their schedule anytime soon. 

5280_Buckeye's picture
  • South Carolina- it would be fun to beat the "ole' ball fondlin' coach" twice in a row
  • Texas A&M- This series just seems really cool to me if A&M stays relevant after Manziel leaves
  • Oregon- The field would be burning after those two offenses got on it
  • Colorado- IDK i just didn't care much for the football players when I did my first two years of undergrad there, so I would love to see the Buckeyes stomp them. Oh and people from Boulder kinda suck
  • Auburn
  • Alabama
  • Louisville- just a few hours between the campuses

Would you rather spend a week in Somalia with some of the most violent criminals on earth, or a night at Old Country Buffet with Brady Hoke watching him eat Every. Last. Bite.?

BTwrestle04's picture

We just played Colorado...

5280_Buckeye's picture

I know but I would love to see them get beat by 50 out here and watch all the stoners drag themselves out of the stadium at half time.  like in a home and home type set up

Would you rather spend a week in Somalia with some of the most violent criminals on earth, or a night at Old Country Buffet with Brady Hoke watching him eat Every. Last. Bite.?

Oldschoolbuck's picture

Was in the North end zone as a student in 1977 and watched the Bucks make a great comeback from a 20-0 halftime hole, only to fall short as Uwe Von Schleppenhofferhimmelfarb kicked a last minute field goal to give the Okies a win.
Payback against them at Norman would be nice...
Also, Urban returning to The Swamp...?!
Could be incredible!!

5280_Buckeye's picture

The problem with FSU is that whenever I schedule them in NCAA 13 on Xbox they always manage to become unranked before the game.  They could be preseason #1 in the game and when we play in week 6 they are 1-3. That would suck in real life.

Would you rather spend a week in Somalia with some of the most violent criminals on earth, or a night at Old Country Buffet with Brady Hoke watching him eat Every. Last. Bite.?

Ohio State Ombre's picture

florida (gator bowl rematch, urban vs his old team)
USC (both east and west)
tennesee (with all of the recruiting battles we are having, would be interesting)

BME_Buckeye's picture

Non Conference Opponents 

  • UCLA
  • Stanford
  • Tennessee
  • Georgia 
  • Florida State 
  • Clemson

Notre Dame won't want to play Ohio State. They're a bunch of chickens. 

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Indeed they are.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

buckeyepastor's picture

Very much looking forward to Oklahoma, who we have coming up in the near future.   I loved the games we had with Texas.    I've never liked Georgia, and would love to get a shot at them in the 'Shoe.   Oregon would be EPIC.   And of course, Florida, especially with Urban's history there.    
More games with Notre Dame would be great, but with them already having ongoing matchups with TTUN and MSU, I don't see that happening again for many years.    

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Wouldn't it be nice to lay that kind of beating on them again?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

FSU - Yes, gimme somma dat.
WVU - Does nothing for me.
ND - Any time, anywhere - but im in the camp that the B1G should turn its back on these guys.
LSU - Yes, would be an amazing home and home.
I want to play large similar schools to us - and from down south mostly.  Bring me LSU, UGA, Tenn, Ole Piss, Auburn, USC (again), Texas (again), Oklahoma, Clemson, Bama...I want those big bluebloods (i know ole piss isnt exactly a blue blood, but i want to road trip there).

BuckeyeSki's picture

Syracuse (personal reasons, not competitive)

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Savage45's picture

No desire to see a game vs. West Va., the rest of the list is good though.

cplunk's picture

The year we played LSU in the championship, we would have been playing Richrod's WVU if a crappy Pitt team hadn't upset them in the last week. I was salivating over that matchup. Literally salivating. I knew RichRod's speedy little offense and 3-3-5 defense would have no chance against our team that year. And then Richrod moved to TSUN and I got my wish for many years in a row.
I'll never forgive Pitt for that. Without that upset we'd have played and beaten WVU. That was back when it was possible to have a championship game without an SEC team, and would have taken the edge off the Florida debacle the year before.

billy04's picture

If I'm not mistaken, that West Virginia squad housed Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. And beyond that, are you saying you would have preferred winning a national championship against a purportedly inferior squad (WVU) instead of LSU? OSU couldn't stop Juice Williams in Columbus that year, who's to say we would've stopped Pat White?

cplunk's picture

Oh, I don't doubt Pat White would have gotten his. They'd definitely have used their speed to break a few long ones. The problem for them is that their 3-3-5 had absolutely zero chance of stopping Beanie Wells. Zero. We'd have had long scoring drive after long scoring drive, each one tiring them out a bit more. And the one thing Boeckmann could do was throw long ones to Robiskie once the defense was forced to cheat up. 
I wasn't worried because I don't think Pat White or the WVU offense would have been on the field.
Illinois beat us that year in a way WVU never could have- pounding it down our throats while taking all the time in the world. What Juice and Illinois did is the exact opposite of what WVU did on offense that year. Go back and look at the timeof possession in that game.
Also, the majority of Illinois' runs we're straight up the gut, right in our face. WVU just wasn't built to run that way. They were all outside runs and quick passes.
Basically WVU's style-quick strike offense and defense based on speed- was the perfect style for us to play- it gives up time of possession and is vulnerable to a pounding inside running game. Two of Tressel's favorite things (and I'm sure we'd have gotten to punt once or twice, so we'd have hit all three).

cinserious's picture

 It is doubtful that poll voters are going to be impressed by the likes of Buffalo, San Diego State, Cal, or Florida A&M. 

They might be impressed if we beat these teams by a composite score of 80-3!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

5280_Buckeye's picture

Or if Urban "forgets" to take the 1st string out and we hang 100+ on FAMU.  Now that would be sick.

Would you rather spend a week in Somalia with some of the most violent criminals on earth, or a night at Old Country Buffet with Brady Hoke watching him eat Every. Last. Bite.?

DaiTheFlu's picture

Do you spend a lot of time on the ESPN message boards?

We can't stop here; this is bat country...

cplunk's picture

If we start the year ranked one or two, who cares if they're impressed? Pollsters won't raise somebody with that schedule up, but they won't drop that team for not losing either. Its why I hate preseason polls, but this year they might work for us. Start ranked in the top two and don't lose. You're in.

Hetuck21's picture

In addition to your list,
Texas A&M
Ole Miss
South Carolina
Kansas State

cplunk's picture

One other. I know it really does nothing for us, but part of me would like to see us schedule and beat Appalachian State.

BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

1. Florida
2. ND
3. A&M
4. FSU
5. Tennessee
6. Stanford
7. 'Bama
8. LSU
9. Clemson
10. Boise St.

Any of these games would be entertaining and marquee. I think the Gators would provide the best opportunity for some payback, and the Urban Meyer storyline would be incredible. ND has always battled with the midwest powers, and the chance to continue our dominance would be great for recruiting. The other SEC teams are all kind of lumped together, as I would love to schedule any of them to come to the 'Shoe. I chose Stanford because I think, other than Oregon (Who we have scheduled down the road) they are the hottest west coast program. Clemson and Boise just based on intrigue and something new.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

thatlillefty's picture

Good call on Boise. They definitely wouldn't be afraid to come to the 'Shoe.

5280_Buckeye's picture

How about just any and all SEC teams?  I mean in a couple years we will be fully prepared to beat all of them.  Just imagine Bielema with that sour face on the Arkansas sideline, thinking about how he can never run far enough.  Imagine Les Miles getting so desperate he runs a fake punt on 2nd and 4.  And best of all imagine Nick Saban throwing his dwarf-like body around in fits of rage when his defense hasn't decapitated our entire offense by halftime as he is accustomed to.  Muschamp getting MusChomped by his own imploding defense in the face of our offensive arsenal.  Beating Ole Miss by 57 points.  The list goes on and on.

Would you rather spend a week in Somalia with some of the most violent criminals on earth, or a night at Old Country Buffet with Brady Hoke watching him eat Every. Last. Bite.?

USMC11917's picture

Tenn - USC (West ) - Boise State

yrro's picture

If I had my way, our schedule every year would include (basing this on the 9-game conference schedule).
1) One top tier team home and home from one of the major conferences. LSU, Florida, Oregon, Stanford, Oklahoma... rotating conferences.
2) One middle to lower of the pack team home and home from a major conference. Tennessee, Texas Tech, UCLA, Oregon State... rotating conferences. This is to prevent the bullshit "oh our best team beat you therefore any of our teams could beat you" crap.
3) MAC Champion or runner-up at the shoe.

thatlillefty's picture

South Carolina, Georgia, LSU, Bama. I'd be happy to playany of those teams.
Give me Oregon as well.

MattyBeingMatty's picture

Feed us some Kiffin and USC... Oh how Urban would love to get him in The Shoe!

“Not everybody’s the perfect person in the world, I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever. I think that people need a second chance, and I’ve always looked up to Mike Vick." -TP

stittracer99's picture

South Carolina - Payback from our '01 and '02 back-to-back Outback Bowl losses. Plus a chance to put it the Visor.
Arkansas - New team, same Bert, same result. Plus we apparently never "won" that Sugar Bowl in the eyes of ESPN and the SEC
Oklahoma State - prove that there is only one real OSU
Oregon State - see above
Pittsburgh - Mark May can suck it

wolfman's picture

I have been praying for an Arkansas rematch.  I currently live in the state and try to remain neutral as far as the Razorbacks go, but I am getting tired of being attacked for being a Buckeye.  We dominated in the Sugar Bowl until Tressel ball took over in the 2nd half.  A rematch now or even in a couple of years would really show these delusional fans how dominate B1G football can be!  

Buckabroad's picture

Here are some of my thoughts:
Arkansas: Always cultivated a special hate against Bielema. Would be good to show him he can run from the S&G but he cannot hide...
Clemson or Tennessee: Show those misguided enough to snub us what they are missing out on firsthand.
USC: There will be a terrible and just reckoning against them.
Florida: Would be great to see our fast spread go against that great D.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

dlb72osu's picture

There are certain losses that stick in my memory. I do not know if a victory today would soften the bitter taste of some of these games but we can try. With that in mind:
UCLA  1976 Rose Bowl, National Championship pissed away
Stanford 1970 Rose Bowl, National Championship pissed away
FSU, back to back home losses in the 80's
Alabama, just because
Oklahoma, 1977 (although probably the most incredible football game I ever had the privilege of attending, 2002 NCG ranks right there obviously)
Losses to LSU, Colorado, USC, Auburn, Georgia also hurt, but nothing like the above!

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

- Invictus

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, Clemson, LSU, USC, Boise State, Notre Dame

Class of 2010.

TheShookster's picture

An obvious choice that comes to mind is Pitt. I've finally learned to just ignore Mark May but it would still be great to hear his "analysis" immediately following the beatdown. But that being said, there are four teams and four teams only that we should play: Texas, Florida, LSU, and USC (not in any order). These teams have all completely broken our hearts and it's time that their fans feel what we felt.

He ain't even stretch doe!!

USMC11917's picture

Anyone we have ever lost to. At least there wouldn't be an FCS team on that list.....

GA_bucki's picture

My #1 pick would be Florida for obvious reasons
#2 would be ND, but that's got a snow ball's chance in hades of happening
3 Georgia, cuz i live here and it would be awesome
4 Tennecheat cuz sEC + semi-easy win IMO
5 USC, payback
6 LSU, payback
7 South Carolina, payback
etc, etc...

WC Buckeye's picture

Both USC's, 'cause, well - Kiffin and Spurrier both need an ass-kicking, down season or not.
Washington, 'cause, well - Napoleon Kaufman.
And NOT ND, under any circumstances, 'cause, well - $$$ should go to anyone other than the domers.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

Curt Heinrichs's picture

I guess none or few of these recommendations include Florida A & M, Buffalo, or any other MAC schools. I'm ok with having an in-state MAC school every year as a tune up to start the season, but no more than 1. If the Buckeyes are going to compete year in and year out with the Alabamas and LSUs, they'll need to be well-seasoned. If they lose a B1G game here or there, some credible non-conference foes would certainly help more than beating up on Miami of Ohio. 

LexingtonBuckeye's picture

I would say UK. It would be an easy road trip, a fairly easy win (against the almighty ESS EEE CEE), and OSU Scarlet would bleed all over the blue city to the point it would make the blue disappear. Also, Lexington is an awesome place to tailgate with some unique traditions. Not to mention the unparalleled amount of bourbon choices. Make it an October game and have Keeneland Horse track as yet another great attraction for visitors.

CWhiteland27's picture

As i have lived in South Carolina for the past 5 years, all i get to hear about is South Carolina and Clemson.  I would like to see both of them played by us and watch them get beat badly at the hands of the TBDTITL.  Clemson fans are so stupid thinking they are so good every year.  It makes me sick just hearing about them.  Other then those two i would like to see a LSU, an Oregon or Stanford.It would be nice if the BIG TEN would turn it around a little so the out of conference schedule  would not have so much weight on it.

Joe Beale's picture

Thanks for all the comments. I also thought about Appy State, just to remind the UM fans of that festering wound.

Baroclinicity's picture

Boston College, only because that was my first game in the 'Shoe.
West Virginia once in a while, because I live here.
Get a couple more Pac-12 games going... say UCLA or ASU along with USC.  Oregon because we own them.
TAMU and Texas.
Keep scheduling the 'Canes.
Middle of the road SEC teams for the regular season.
I'm into spreading the fire, so to speak.  Try and get semi-competitive games that haven't seen us in a while, e.g. BYU, Utah, UNC (coming, I know), Clemson.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

harleymanjax's picture

I'm a local trucker down here in Jacksonville and I had to make a delivery in Gainesville today and just driving past "The Swamp" made me so mad I wanted to smash my truck into it!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

Poison nuts's picture

Louisville, UF, USC (cocks), Tenn, Georgia, UCLA, USC (Kiffins), UK...
Everyone that wants Oregon - that ones already happening I believe.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

cplunk's picture

Which USC (cocks)?  Still two.

Poison nuts's picture

Yeah - you got a good point there...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

CC's picture

Oberlin. I'm still pissed about my freshman year loss in '21

Otherwise Florida, Georgia, Texas, USC, ND, LSU

Psychranger's picture

It would be great just to get some good teams back on the OOC schedule which has been dreadful. Many of the Southern schools have a big traditional rivalry with a team in a rival conference that's both another tough and meaningful game and adds to strength of schedule.  OSU does not. The Buckeyes strength of schedule this year is abysmal and could really hurt them in the end. Most of the B1G programs are inconsistent at best and pretty awful at worst. Recruiting in the conference overall has been subpar. Coach Meyer states clearly that's the case and also that for some time there's been a greater concentration of talent in the South. Buckeye fans frequently deny it when the disparity in talent and recruiting is discussed as if it's blasphemy. But our HC knows the deal and isn't afraid to address it and do something about it and neither should Buckeye Fans. It's also important that the Bucks get used to traveling to and playing in the areas of the Country where the BCS Bowls are played. We've seen way too many bad surprises with long trips to warm weather locations for the whole Conference over the years. There's good teams in the South and West that will want the chance to have Coach Meyer's troops role in on occasion. And wouldn't it be great to have some of these schools coming to The Shoe? 


CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

A lot of great suggestions.  My top picks would be:
Florida:  Got to give them some payback for the NC game, plus great story line with Urban.
USC, CA:  We should have beat them in the shoe a few years back. 
USC, SC:  For those bowl losses, especially the one where we came back 4 touchdowns or something like that. 
Miami, FL:  They beat us in Miami during our down year.  Don't like them having the last laugh so would be nice to pound them again like we did when they came to the shoe. 
Texas:  Great home and home series.  Got to get some pay back for the Bowl loss. 
Arkansas:  Would be a good storyline to play against Bert again. 
Go Bucks!