One of the first things that I ever wrote for Eleven Warriors (seven years ago!) was my account of meeting a American football team during a trip to Kyoto while I was living in Japan. It's still one of my absolute favorite things that I've ever written for this site, because the sheer joy of watching something as quintessentially American as football thrive in somewhere as distant as Japan was pretty awesome.
I also really enjoyed Jim Harbaugh and Michigan's romp through Rome, mostly for the slack-jawed awe that came with watching Harbaugh interact with the freaking Pope, but I assume that it was also pretty fun for him and the rest of the Michigan football team.
So it was disappointing that in May, Gene Smith was pretty emphatic about Ohio State not travelling abroad anytime soon. Which is unfortunate, because that denies Ohio State a place as part of college football's very long history of playing outside of the United States, a history that stretches all the way back to the 1800's (if you decide to not count Canada, despite their key role in developing the sport, just a few years after the Spanish-American War LSU played in Havana in 1907).
From Wikipedia, here's a (very) truncated list of college football games played outside of the United States since the late 1800s:
|SEASON||ScoRe||Winning team||Losing team||Stadium||City||Country||Attendance|
|1874||3–0||Harvard||McGill||Montreal Cricket Grounds||Montreal||Canada||2,000|
|1880||13–6||Michigan||Toronto||Toronto Lacrosse Club||Toronto||Canada|
|1912||28–0||Florida||Vedado Tennis Club||Almandares Park||Havana||Cuba|
|1936||7–7||Auburn||Villanova||La Tropical Stadium||Havana||Cuba|
|1944||7–6||Idaho State||Edmonton AAB||Clarke Stadium||Edmonton||Canada|
|1946||12–0||Nevada||Edmonton AAB||Clarke Stadium||Edmonton||Canada||1,500|
|1954||19–6||Eastern New Mexico||Notre Dame (Canada)||Taylor Field||Regina||Canada||4,000|
|1976||42–16||Grambling State||Morgan State||Korakuen Stadium||Tokyo||Japan||50,000|
|1978||10–0||Utah State||Idaho State||Hankyu Nishinomiya Stadium||Nishinomiya||Japan||15,000|
|1979||40–15||Notre Dame||Miami (FL)||Korakuen Stadium||Tokyo||Japan||62,574|
|1980||34–3||UCLA||Oregon State||National Olympic Stadium||Tokyo||Japan||86,000|
|1981||21–16||Air Force||San Diego State||National Olympic Stadium||Tokyo||Japan||80,000|
|1984||45–31||Army||Montana||National Olympic Stadium||Tokyo||Japan||60,000|
|1987||17–17||California||Washington State||National Olympic Stadium||Tokyo||Japan||45,000|
|1988||38–24||Boston College||Army||Lansdowne Road||Dublin||Ireland||42,525|
|1992||7–7||Heidelberg||Otterbein||Stadion am Bieberer Berg||Offenbach am Main||Germany||4,351|
|1993||41–20||Wisconsin||Michigan State||Tokyo Dome||Tokyo||Japan||51,500|
|1996||54–27||Notre Dame||Navy||Croke Park||Dublin||Ireland||38,651|
|2006||27–24||Cincinnati||Western Michigan||Rogers Centre||Toronto||Canada||26,717|
|2007||52–30||Rutgers||Ball State||Rogers Centre||Toronto||Canada||31,455|
|2009||27–3||South Florida||Northern Illinois||Rogers Centre||Toronto||Canada||22,185|
|2012||50–10||Notre Dame||Navy||Aviva Stadium||Dublin||Ireland||48,820|
|2014||49–48||Western Kentucky||Central Michigan||Thomas Robinson Stadium||Nassau||Bahamas||13,667|
|2014||26–24||Penn State||UCF||Croke Park||Dublin||Ireland||55,000|
|2016||17–14||Georgia Tech||Boston College||Aviva Stadium||Dublin||Ireland||40,562|
Gene Smith may object for the time being, but it'll be interesting to see how much longer Ohio State can stand on the sidelines as playing games overseas comes back en vogue. Urban Meyer is all about using every single avenue that gets recruits to Columbus, and I don't expect him to reject too many chances to do that, even if it means hoofing it to Singapore or Helsinki or whatever.
So, last question: where to?
Personally, I'd stump for somewhere in Germany, given Ohio's extensive German heritage and Germany's somewhat-better-than-average support for American football in general, but I'll leave it to you and ask "If Ohio State were to play a game abroad, where should they go?"