Ohio State Should Pay It Forward and Play Other Ohio Teams on Their Home Turf

By D.J. Byrnes on January 21, 2015 at 2:05 pm
Ohio Stadium: Still the King

Thanks to @TomOrr4, I'm now aware of this 2015 scheduling kerfuffle: Michigan State opens its season at Western Michigan.

Was this some scheduling snafu or a game cooked up before Michigan State cemented itself as a national power? Apparently, it's neither.

As @WMURivals pointed out: The Michigan State-Western Michigan banger is all part of a 2-for-1 home-and-home agreement Michigan State struck with in-state MAC schools.

From Josh Slagter of MLive.com in August 2009:

EAST LANSING -- Michigan State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan are determined to help build a better Michigan economy through football.

The four schools agreed to marshal their forces and flex their considerable financial muscle by playing in the Celebrate State Football Series, which will feature 12 games between MSU and its Mid-American Conference brethren from 2011-20.


The arrangement will keep millions of dollars inside the state of Michigan while saving the universities considerable revenue by reducing travel expenses and guaranteed appearance fees.

I understand Ohio State has a much larger fanbase than Michigan State, and I also understand Ohio Stadium is one of the world's finest architectural achievements, but I still think it'd be cool as hell to see Ohio State play Toledo in the Glass Bowl.

Yes, Ohio State would lose out on some revenue, but it's an institution not pinched for cash at the moment. Besides, what we're talking about here is bigger than Ohio State football's bottom line.

In 2009, ~71,000 people watched Ohio State dismantle Toledo in the factory of horrors known as Cleveland Browns Stadium. No disrespect to the city of Cleveland, which I love, but that game should've been played in the Glass Bowl. (Neutral site games in NFL Stadiums should be snuffed from the sport.)

Sure, tickets in these smaller venues would be a pretty penny, but even if you weren't rich enough to attend the actual game there are worse ways to spend time than tailgating on a sun-soaked early fall afternoon in Athens, Ohio. Besides, when would be the last time a trip to see the Buckeyes was so easy for the fine folks of Southeastern Ohio?

Ohio State, after all, belongs to the entirety of this great state, not just to those of us lucky to toil our lives away in central part of it. The price on a 2-for-1 home-and-home agreement with Ohio State's MAC schools should be paid without a moment's hesitation. It might not be practical, but it'd be right.

What was it that ol' Woody Hayes used to call personal sacrifice for the overall greater good? Ah, that's right: Paying it forward. Michigan State heard the call (even if it cancelled its 2016 date with Eastern), and as an Ohio State fan, it'd be cool to see the university answer it as well.

But hey, I'm just a man trying to survive the 228 more days until Ohio State kicks off the season in Blacksburg.

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