Cleveland.com has a story about Ohio State having a tough time selling tickets to its out-of-conference home games this year. It makes sense when one looks at the out-of-conference home slate: Buffalo, San Diego State and Florida A&M are not world beaters. (Gene Smith said originally the plan was to schedule Grambling, but when that deal couldn't get done he turned to Florida A&M. Why? Because of their band, which won't be making the trip to Columbus due to punishment stemming from the hazing death of Robert Champion, a Florida A&M drum major.)
Buried in this article about ticket pricing, out-of-conference scheduling and home attendance is this very interesting nugget (emphasis mine):
Next year Ohio Stadium will add an additional 2,522 seats in the south stands, so when Ohio Stadium is really filled, players will have to talk about playing in front of 108,000 or 109,000. A nine-game Big Ten schedule will begin in 2016, so there will be one fewer nonconference game to play. And with a four-team playoff starting in 2014, those nonconference games will feature better opponents.
The plan is for one major opponent considered a top 10 program (Smith said he asks Notre Dame every year “and they say no,”) another program among the best 30 or 40 in the country and one opponent like a MAC team.
Could Gene Smith be leaking this to the press as a way of throwing down the gauntlet to Notre Dame and trying to shame them into scheduling a series the Midwest obviously craves? I like the sound of that. Hard to blame the Irish for wanting no part of the Buckeyes, however, considering their last win over Ohio State was a 7-2 instant classic in South Bend during Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first term as President (1936).