Thinking out loud: Schedule

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Last updated: 05/22/2012 11:50 AM

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Thinking Out Loud About Ohio State’s Future Schedule

By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Big Ten Conference announced the future schedules for Ohio State and the 11 other members on Monday.

The Buckeyes will continue to play Michigan in the final game of the regular season, but college football fans will have to wait a while for another OSU-Nebraska game after this coming fall.

All of that had me Thinking Out Loud about the future matchups for Ohio State and the rest of the Big Ten Conference.

About The Game…

1. The Game is preserved for at least four more years. It should be 40 more years, but at least we know Ohio State and Michigan will continue to meet in the regular season finale through 2016.

2. This wasn’t really in danger, but it also wasn’t set in stone until Monday when the 2015 and 2016 B1G schedules were released. The only thing that was guaranteed during Big Ten expansion and realignment was that The Game would be the season finale through 2014. Now that is extended through 2016.

3. The powers that be can’t be naïve enough to think they could ever change The Game without setting off mass hysteria. It doesn’t make any sense to mess with something that has worked as long as OSU-Michigan.

4. If the Buckeyes and Wolverines are both good enough to play a rematch in the B1G title game, it would only be a good thing for the Big Ten. It’s not going to happen every year. It’s just not.

5. Even with Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke dominating the recruiting landscape, the Big Ten is stronger than it has ever been from top to bottom. That could change, but Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan State should all continue to be factors, and Penn State will rediscover itself eventually. Even Iowa and Northwestern could sneak into the mix from time to time.

6. The schedule sets up favorably for Ohio State at the end of the year, especially in 2015. The Buckeyes go to Illinois and host Indiana before the big game against Michigan in Ann Arbor.

7. The Wolverines get back-to-back road games at Northwestern and Iowa heading into the season finale. They also host Nebraska at the Big House the first weekend in November, but Ohio State also has Wisconsin in Columbus that weekend.

About The Schedule…

1. 2016 is a different story for the Buckeyes. Ohio State still plays Indiana the week before the Michigan game, but it’s in Bloomington. That still should be an easier win than the Wolverines, who host Iowa, but the Buckeyes play at Wisconsin the week before the Indiana game.

2. Ohio State’s 2016 schedule will be a tough road. The Buckeyes already had a tough road trip to Oklahoma scheduled for Sept, 2016, but they will also make trips to East Lansing, State College and Madison. Those are three of the toughest places to play in the Big Ten.

3. 2013 is the year Ohio State fans should circle on their calendars. It’s the first year Urban Meyer is eligible to coach Ohio State in a postseason game, but it also happens to be the schedule that sets up most favorably for the Buckeyes.

4. Their toughest nonconference game is at Cal in September. They get Wisconsin, Iowa and Penn State at home. They have to go to Ann Arbor on Nov. 30, but they avoid Michigan State altogether that season.

About Nebraska…

1. They also avoid playing Nebraska that season, and the three that follow it. This seems like one of the most disappointing aspects of Big Ten realignment. They added one of the most tradition-rich programs in the country, and now they won’t even play Ohio State for the next four years.

2. With five divisional games on the schedule, the Buckeyes only have room for three non-divisional games every year. Michigan is locked in as one of them every year, and with Michigan State rotating back onto the schedule in 2015, there wasn’t room to add Nebraska.

3. It would not have been fair to force Ohio State to play UM, MSU and Nebraska as the three non-divisional games. They had to throw a team like Minnesota in there to give the Buckeyes a break.

4. That makes the game on Oct. 6, 2012 all the more exciting. Ohio State will host Nebraska at the Horseshoe for just the third time. It will also be the final meeting between these two storied programs until at least 2017.

5. You have to figure Nebraska will be back on Ohio State’s schedule in 2017. If not, I don’t think I fully understand that importance of adding them to the conference.

6. Not that Ohio State is the only important program in the B1G, but creating marquee matchups is in the conference’s best interest.

7. The same could be said for Penn State and Michigan, who won’t meet in 2015 or 2016, but they do play each other in 2013 and 2014.

8. The only other major matchup in the B1G that will go on a 4-year hiatus starting in 2013 is Wisconsin and Michigan State. That seems like a shame after the two games they played against each other last year.

9. The Spartans will play Ohio State, Indiana and Penn State in their non-divisional games in 2015 and 2016. They get Illinois, Indiana and Purdue, however, in 2013 and 2014.

10. Wisconsin will play Iowa, Northwestern and Minnesota in its non-divisional games in 2013 and 2014. That flips to Michigan, Nebraska and Minnesota in 2015 and 2016.

Future OSU Schedules

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