Ideal Non-Conference Foes for Ohio State and the B1G

By Michael Citro on June 10, 2013 at 11:30a

The off-season tends to conjure up all kinds of stories and discussion about schedules. The B1G has recently announced conference schedules for 2014 and 2015 — the first two such slates to include Maryland and Rutgers, and the new East/West format.

Cold and wet never felt so good.This happens after big games. Let's schedule more.

With the focus on conference schedules this time of year, sometimes it’s easy to forget that the most intriguing matchups can be the non-conference games. Upcoming series’ with schools like Virginia Tech, TCU, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Texas, and Oregon are all outstanding upgrades to the pre-conference slate which has previously been chock full of MAC snacks and FCS schools like Youngstown State.

Although the MAC teams aren’t likely to go away, nor should they completely, it’s pretty great to see more competitive games lined up in the future.

With an emphasis on improving the non-conference schedule moving forward, it’s natural to think of which teams would be fun to see Ohio State play.

Sure, we’ve done this before, with a slightly different spin, but my OSU list is (mostly) different from my esteemed colleague Joe Beale. My criteria don’t require rare or first-time meetings (although, coincidentally, these are included). I’m looking only at the entertainment value, plus meetings that I think fans of any college football team would be interested in.

I’ve come up with a short list of the next five I’d like to see Gene Smith put on the schedule to face the Scarlet & Gray. I think they’d make ideal, competitive matchups. Thereafter, I’ll give my top list of opponents I’d like the other B1G schools to schedule.

My ideal future home-and-home foes for Ohio State are (in no particular order):

Florida State

Joe and I completely agree on this one.

The Seminoles under Jimbo Fisher are back. Aren’t they? It seems like we’re always hearing about how teams are “back” (looking at you, Notre Dame and Michigan).

The Noles aren’t quite atop the college football world the way they once were, but they are competitive and they play a fairly entertaining brand of football. They’re a “name” opponent too. I like the idea of a future home-and-home with Florida State, piggybacking on the recent Miami (FL) series.

From a selfish standpoint, I’ve never been to Doak Campbell Stadium, and it’s only four hours up the Florida Turnpike/I-75/I-10 from me. From television, it appears to have a great collegiate atmosphere and it would be a very interesting matchup, particularly in prime time under the lights.

Dabo's not afraid to break the dress code.Clemson has a great atmosphere and a good team.

The teams haven’t met since the 1998 Sugar Bowl, and it’s time to turn around Ohio State’s 0-3 record in the all-time series.


Staying with the ACC for a minute, there have been fewer teams in the country more entertaining than the Clemson Tigers. Dabo Swinney’s bunch can score in bunches and, win or lose, Clemson is rarely boring.

The Tigers do have a tendency toward “Clemsoning,” which is a perfect way for the Buckeyes to get an early signature win. It would be fun to see Death Valley at night go suddenly quiet as Ohio State steps up and starts knocking heads.

No tricky time zone changes here either, so both teams would be on equal footing in the series.

It seems odd that these two teams have met only once. That game didn’t end well for Art Schlichter or Woody Hayes and now I has a sad just thinking about it. Put Clemson on the schedule and let the Buckeyes get some payback, I say.


Bert Bret Bielema doesn’t have a great record against Ohio State (1-5), so what better way to start turning the SEC narrative around than the Buckeyes showing that the Sugar Bowl (which never happened, yet totally happened) was the beginning of a trend rather than an isolated incident.

Officially, the two teams have never met. Except they have. We all saw it and we can never unsee it. Terrelle Pryor. Cam Heyward. Boom Herron and the safety that wasn’t. You remember.

Plus, wouldn’t it be pretty fun to ruin Bert’s run in the SEC? That’s assuming he’s still there by the time the games get scheduled.

Oklahoma State

We’ve seen Texas (and will again). We’ll soon see Oklahoma. That doesn’t leave a lot of power teams in the Big 12, but the Cowboys of the other OSU (no, the OTHER other OSU) are an intriguing opponent.

Mike Gundy is a man north of 40 and he has his team playing as well as anyone in the Big 12 — especially on offense.

The Buckeyes are 2-0 in the all-time series, with the last meeting coming in the 2004 Alamo Bowl. That game saw Justin Zwick (yes, Justin Zwick) lead the Buckeyes to a 33-7 thrashing of Les Miles’ Cowboys.

Nighttime in Boise. I'm listening.I ain't 'fraid a no Boise.

It seems like two schools with the same initials should have met more than twice.

Boise State

The Broncos are college football’s spoilers. Not in a BCS qualifier conference, Boise State has been content to run the table seemingly every year and enter the conversation.

Although their schedule strength seems to hold them back more often than not, the Broncos have usually taken care of the big name teams they’ve faced when given the opportunity.

I’m not afraid of them or their hideous field. I think a home-and-home with Boise would be great fun for fans of both schools and for those without a dog in the fight.

The teams have never met. It’s about time they did.

Matching Up the Other B1G Schools

Briefly, here are some opponents I’d like to see the other B1G teams adding to their non-conference schedules:

Rutgers: I’d like to see the Scarlet Knights repping the B1G in a very large way. My ideal non-conference foe for the scarlet R is an SEC opponent. My preferences here are Auburn and Ole Miss.

Maryland: A home-and-home with a west coast team would be fun for the Terps. I’d consider Oregon State, UCLA or one of the Arizonas to be excellent scheduling for Maryland.

Penn State: I’d like to see the Nittany Lions lock horns with Georgia, Stanford, or maybe Kansas State. Why? No real reason, other than I’d like to see it.

Purdue: The Boilermakers should schedule a similar team from some of the other automatic qualifier conferences. California works here, as would Mississippi State.

Michigan State: Sparty might enjoy a home-and-home with Louisville. USC would also be fun, as would Texas A&M.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes should continue to meet Iowa State every year. In addition, I’d be interested in seeing Iowa take on South Carolina, West Virginia, or Virginia Tech.

Northwestern: The Wildcats should rotate playing home-and-homes against Stanford, Duke, and Vanderbilt because, nerd fight!

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers should take on West Virginia just for the contrast between Bo Pelini and Dana Holgorsen. Nebraska against Notre Dame would also intrigue me.

Indiana: The Hoosiers against the new-look Kentucky Wildcats would be a welcome match-up. It would be fun (and if the word “fun” can be applied to Hoosier football, Kevin Wilson is making it happen) to see Indiana against Missouri or BYU.

Illinois: Until/unless Tim Beckman can get the Illini back to respectability, they’d be best served facing similar competition. Right now, this means schools like Virginia, Colorado, and Kansas. Things are kind of ugly right now in Champaign.

Minnesota: The Gophers against Utah or Colorado out west, or Georgia Tech in the east would be competitive, if not exciting.

Wisconsin: Can it be anyone other than Arkansas?

Michigan: I’d like to see the Wolverines against the likes of LSU, Louisville, Stanford, Arizona (for Rich Rod purposes), Florida, and Texas.

Aside from who you'd like to see the Buckeyes play, what teams would you like to see the other B1G schools square off against? Do you even care if the others upgrade their schedules? Let us know in the comments below.


Comments Show All Comments

MackRM408's picture

Northwestern vs KState would be so confusing

OSUStu's picture

My top five in no particular order:  Bama, LSU, Auburn, Florida, and Texas A&M.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

81Alum's picture

The "other" OSU is intriguing. Agree on FSU & Clemson. The matchups I'd like to see most are against SEC: UGA, USC (South Carolina), LSU, Alabama and Pac 12: USC (So Cal), ASU, Arizona, Oregon.

Jordan Wagner's picture

I'd like to see Michigan play Ohio. They usually play at least one MAC school a year. I'm not sure their fan base could handle all the confusion. 

OSUs12-OH's picture

^^^^Liked this response....I'm not so sure our newly acquired fans from that school up there who come here for their reading and viewing pleasure would like it as much as us though;-) They seem to love 11W as much as OSU fans do but what you've mentioned here Jordan may put their brains into overload:-)

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

willshire58's picture

Michigan vs. Delaware

OSUs12-OH's picture

Well they did reschedule Appalachian State....only they would want to get revenge on a FCS school.  Because they're the only major college football team to lose to an FCS school in a long time.  Look it up...

I don't know about you all, but when my annoying TTUN friends start firing off on the old debate about who's better due to the overall record....I give them two words...App State! This video never gets old.

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

CC's picture

Good one.  Delaware changed their helmets so they actually match the unis now.  When I was a kid they had the same color helmets as UM but with a lighter blue uni.  Princeton and Carlisle would be interesting for the same reason.

cplunk's picture

i do want the other B1G teams to upgrade their schedules, but frankly I'm a little concerned about what will happen when they do.
I like almost any home and home with a BCS conference team. What I don't like is for them to accept games versus Alabama or LSu at "neutral" sites.

Michael Citro's picture

I might add that a Nebraska-Baylor game would be interesting. ALL OF THE POINTS. NONE OF THE DEFENSE.

SavannahGABuckeye48's picture

Definitely Georgia. So sick of all of the dawg fans and SEC homers.

Buckeye80's picture

I want the Mountaineers

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

should have had them in 06 I believe.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

OSUs12-OH's picture

Florida State, Florida, TX and USC. Why not??  We want the supposed Powerhouses of football.  That's supposedly where all the best talent let's play em and beat em.  We'll see an SEC team regularly I'm sure.  Don't see anyone keeping them out of the NC game with or without a play off.

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

Coqui's picture

Playing Arkansas won't get rid of the mystique with the SEC.  Aren't we 7-2-1 against the SEC in regular season?

OSUs12-OH's picture

Yes you're correct.  Here's the article.  It's from BR so I won't make you waste your time.

"Oh, and just so you know, Ohio State is 7-2-1 vs. SEC teams in the regular season making them 7-11-1 overall all-time (not 0-9) but you never hear the true overall record, just the bowl games.
Well, now you know the truth!"

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

Gametime's picture

And to update if we count the bowl win we all saw happen, (NCAA be damned) and then the bowl loss to Florida we're 8-12-1 all time against the SEC.

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

Poison nuts's picture

Damn straight. I always count that Sugar Bowl. It happened. Lies, tattoos, scandals or not, that game happened & OSU won it on the field fair & square...Mark it an 8 Smoke.

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

AndyVance's picture

Ditto. You know how I know it happened? I. was. there. Eat it, NCAA.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

The NCaa sure didn't care when they allowed Pryor, and the others to play. Now it "doesn't count".

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

RedStorm45's picture

I don't get the gatorade bath picture.  That doesn't happen after big games in September.  It happens when you beat Michigan, cap off a 12-0 season, or win a huge bowl game.  Scheduling marquee OOC games won't make that happen early in the season.  That's not the prize the team is after.
For trolling effects...Florida.

ATXbucknut's picture

"...the pre-conference slate which has previously been chock full of MAC snacks and FCS schools like Youngstown State."

One slight niggle...this is the anti-OSU narrative on Ohio State (used by SEC and OSU haters nationwide). They lazily claim that we schedule FCS opponents each year to pad our record and get to an upper-tier bowl game, but YSU is the *only* FCS school OSU has ever played (and JT pushed for that game as a favor to his former school).
Not a big deal, but I was surprised to see a homer write that!

Michael Citro's picture

It's just fact. I applaud the recent upgrade in non-con scheduling, but you can't pretend the MAC schools and odd YSU didn't exist. And the SEC can't talk based on their non-con scheduling.

ATXbucknut's picture

It was only the FCS angle I was taking issue with.  The scheduling of MAC schools definitely happened a lot.  Still a really good article.

Buckeye80's picture

My thought is why shouldn't we schedule MAC and a FCS opponent?  Now don't get me wrong, I don't care to watch the Buckeyes pound inferior opponents on a regular basis, but how does scheduling harder games benefit us?  There is no strength of schedule right now.  No SEC fan has the right to question us on scheduling.  So I say we do what benefits us the most.

mh277907's picture

I can't wait for the Oklahoma game. We have a huge client in Oklahoma who are big Sooner fans. It will be nice to treat them to some tailgating and a Buckeye Beatdown in the 'Shoe. Hopefully, they can return the favor with some tickets to the game in Norman.
I know scheduling this would be nearly impossible, but I would love for a late October or early November game against a SEC squad. There is always talk from the south that playing in the humidity and high temperatures is much harder than playing in freezing weather but there is never a situation where we can test that theory. If the Super Bowl in NY is a success, maybe the NCAA can follow suit with future playoff/bowl games in the North.


xrox's picture

I seem to remember Wisconsin dominating the U a few years ago in a bowl game. It was like 55-60 degrees, and the Miami players were huddling around portable heaters, while Wisconsin didn't even have any long-sleeved undershirts.
Not SEC, but it was pretty funny. And Wisconsin was supposed to lose that game BIG, if you believed the talking heads.

AndyVance's picture

Michael, you've offered up an excellent list of targets for Gene Smith to put on his "To Schedule" list. I'm not a fan of Boise State, so that's the weakest pick of the group, but I'm wholly on board with the rest of the slate.
As with some other posters, a renewal of past home-and-home series with the likes of USC and Texas would be great, although admittedly diminished from the past editions, and I think a pair with Tennessee would be good consideringg the recruiting skirmishes that have popped up in recent years. I've also not quite figured out why the Mountaineers don't show up on our slate more often.

Maffro's picture

I wanted the Big Ten to add Florida State, so I'd obviously be thrilled if OSU played them. I'd also love it if we played Georgia.

45has2's picture

Well, according to the Gee comments that got NO publicity: FSU is going to leave the ACC, it's only a matter of time. And when that happens, if FSU doesn't join the B1G, the B1G will go after Clemson and VT.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

LouieG's picture

The home and home with FSU would be fun.  I went to the FSU vs Oklahoma game in Tallahassee 2 years ago (my friend works for FSU now) and it was a blast.  The atmosphere was electric.  Tallahassee is a fun lil college town and there are some pretty nice bars there.  Also there will be plenty of girls in short cut off jean shorts, cowboy boots and cut off t shirts.

toad1204's picture

Jen Sterger suddenly comes to mind... Picture omitted for the unwritten rules committee.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I like the idea of FSU and Clemson (and by extension, would love to see South Carolina as well - stupid Outback Bowls, considering what the year after the second one was, I think third time would've been a major charm). 
I'm not all that intrigued by Arkansas and Oklahoma State.  I don't care if people said the Sugar Bowl "didn't happen".  It's lame rationalization on the part of OSU haters.
Boise has taken a small step back in the past 2 or 3 years, but it would still be an interesting game.  I'd love to go up to the blue field and own it.  Plus, Gee and all. 
I'll give you a dozen that weren't in this list:
West Virginia
Notre Dame
South Carolina

Class of 2010.

Michael Citro's picture

To those who are listing Notre Dame, I can only say that I'm all for the B1G mostly ignoring them based on their years of snubbing the conference and how they're dropping the most intriguing of their three traditional B1G rivalries.

I would kind of like to see them play Nebraska though.

Hovenaut's picture

Good list....some history with Clemson (ugh) and FSU (believe a home and home in Schlichter's last two years).

Ok St. and Gundy would be a good matchup.

Boise, that smurf turf. I'd need some Excedrin before watching that.

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

Michigan vs. Toledo, so the Rockets can go up 2-0 over the team up north.

JimmyJack's picture

Didn't everyone enjoy beating up on Notre Dame in the mid-90's? I did.

Hovenaut's picture

Not the folks over in South Bend.....

CC's picture

Nebraska - Texas
Nebraska - OK (I think already scheduled)
Illinois - Mizzou
Michigan - Florida
OSU vs. the SEC

Citrus's picture

I say no to Boise State. For one, it would most likely need to be a home and home. Bronco stadium holds a mere 37,000. Major money being left on the table. Further, Boise plays one tough game a year and is ready for it. If we beat Boise there is no reward really, but if we lose (which is possible) we lose heaps of credibility. There is far more to lose than to gain.

I agree with the other schools on the list.

j_stinebaugh's picture

It would be fun to see us battle South Carolina and Auburn IMO.  I would add Tennessee and Georgia to the list but they already backed out of a home-and-home.  Not a surprise they are afraid to play us.  It would ruin the SEC's glorious reputation.  For a lack of better words, they "p*ssed out!" 

National Champs 2015

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Love it!  I think almost everyone would love to see an SEC team come up to the shoe for some games.  Pretty nice when you get to have basically a home game for all of the bowl games, huh.  You can say it doesn't matter where you play the games, but anyone who has played football knows that there is a huge advantage when you've got the hometown crowd right there in the stadium.  Would love to see LSU, Florida or Georgia travel up to Columbus!  What happened the last time LSU went up north - the Bucks beat 'em. 
Go Bucks!!

hetuck's picture

Two things. OSU has a history of scheduling home and homes with schools that have large groups of OSU alumni. I wouldn't be surprised to see a return of UCLA, Stanford, or Washington. Also Arizona or Arizona State. The home and homes are easy. The trick are the paycheck games. Schools that might take a paycheck without a return game? Utah, Colorado (again), UCONN. I'd like to see the B1G buy 12 home games from the MAC and play them the week before the rivalry games as the SEC does. That would move conference games to the first three weeks of the season. My twist would be don't decide the pairings until two weeks before the date. Pair the two strongest MAC teams against the BIG leaders to help with SOS. One rivalry pair would get their bye that week.  

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

AndyVance's picture

While the conferences would never go for it, your plan for some late-season MACtion ain't half bad.

hetuck's picture

The MAC would go for it if you offered them $13M for 12 games. The B1G, especially, the "have nots", would like it because they have difficulty getting paycheck games. The TV partners would like it because you could get interesting conference games at the beginning of the season. Granted, you'd get some stinkers matching the dregs of the B1G against the dregs of the MAC on BTN, but but Nebraska-Northern Illinois & OSU-Kent last season could have generated some excitement. It's a way to help balance the nine-game schedule for the schools with the short year. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

harleymanjax's picture

So I can go to the game in Gainesville!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

lamplighter's picture

home and home with LSU - same with Alabama
I don't think that many of the other SEC teams have enough --- to come north of the river

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Florida State

If Notre Dame is going to drop M*chigan, there's no way they're scheduling Ohio State.

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