COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Ohio State deputy athletic director Martin Jarmond left Columbus to take over as the athletic director at Boston College last week, the Buckeyes football program lost the man who’s been responsible for helping put together its schedule for the better part of the last eight years.
Fortunately for Ohio State, Jarmond heads to the Eagles with the better part of the Buckeyes’ next 10 schedules already intact.
It won’t be long, however, before Ohio State begins scheduling for 2028 — and beyond. And although the Buckeyes already have games scheduled against the likes of Texas, Notre Dame, TCU and Oregon in the coming years, several potential dream matchups still loom.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five programs Ohio State hasn’t yet scheduled, who we’d like to see the Buckeyes play.
As Jarmond laid out the criteria Ohio State uses to schedule its nonconference opponents, Georgia seemed to make all the sense in the world. Not only do the Buckeyes possess a large alumni base in the South, but Georgia has become one of Urban Meyer’s top recruiting territories.
With the likes of Trey Johnson, Vonn Bell and Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State has maintained a steady pipeline from the Peach State. In the 2018 class, the Buckeyes have secured commitments from 5-star QB Emory Jones and 4-star DL Brenton Cox.
In other words, Ohio State’s momentum in Georgia is only picking up. And while it’s tough to predict what both programs will look like a decade from now, it may make sense for both schools to move their newfound rivalry from the recruiting trail to the field.
With the way the Buckeyes’ 2016 season ended, it’d be understandable if Ohio State didn’t want to play Clemson again for quite some time.
Then again, it might be understandable if it did.
While the Tigers may have just bested the Buckeyes 31-0 in the Fiesta Bowl, neither team appears to be heading anywhere when it comes to college football’s hierarchy. Between their results on the field and recruiting prowess off it, both Meyer and Dabo Swinney have asserted their programs as two of the sport’s best.
At this point, who wouldn’t want to see Clemson and Ohio State clash one more time? The former has every reason to be confident. The latter has every reason to want revenge.
Just like with Georgia, a home-and-home with Florida State would seem to fit Ohio State’s scheduling M.O.
Even before Meyer arrived in Columbus, the Buckeyes made a habit of targeting the Sunshine State on the recruiting trail. That’s one of the biggest reasons why Ohio State played Miami (Fla.) in both the 2010 and ’11 seasons.
For the better part of the past last decade, however, the Seminoles have shown themselves to be Florida’s most consistent program. They also haven’t been hesitant to schedule aggressively, either — as evidenced by the upcoming season opener vs. Alabama.
Could a battle with the Buckeyes be on the horizon? It would seem to make sense for both schools.
While a lot of Ohio State’s out-of-state recruiting efforts have been focused down South, the Buckeyes also haven’t been afraid to look West. In 2017, Ohio State signed 5-star OL Wyatt Davis out of Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, the same school that 2018 Buckeyes commit Jaiden Woodbey calls home.
And while USC appeared to be the biggest threat to Ohio State in both players’ recruitments, the Buckeyes already played a home-and-home with the Trojans relatively recently, in 2008 and ’09.
You’d have to go back to 2001, however, to find the last time Ohio State faced UCLA, which has enjoyed a resurgence of sorts in recent years thanks to the direction of Jim Mora Jr. And between the Buckeyes’ recruiting strategy and West Coast alumni base, it’s understandable why they’d be interested in playing the Bruins.
Could the Ohio State football program make a return to Tinseltown in the coming years? It sure would seem to make sense.
Before setting sail for Boston, Jarmond indicated he didn’t think Ohio State would be scheduling a game against Alabama anytime soon.
“The factors that we look at: alumni or fan support and then student-athletes, are we recruiting them. Alabama doesn’t fit that description,” Jarmond said. “It’s not even about how strong they are. It’s literally about those factors.”
That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to see it happen.
Since Meyer arrived in Columbus in 2012, no two programs have found as much consistent success as the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide. In the last five years, Ohio State (91.0) and Alabama (90.1) rank first and second, respectively, in winning percentage with a combined record of 125-13.
Meyer and Nick Saban have also maintained their rivalry on the recruiting trail, where the Crimson Tide have signed the nation’s last seven No. 1 classes and Ohio State has inked five top-5 hauls.
Add in each school’s respective history and a regular-season matchup between the two programs in any year would undoubtedly be highly anticipated. But for now, any Ohio State-Alabama showdown will have to be limited to postseason play.