Futon Report: Buckeyes swap BGSU for ColoradoWritten by Matt Sussman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ohio State football announced recently that it will play the University of Colorado in Columbus during the 2011 season. It seems a little late for OSU to finalize next year’s schedule, doesn’t it? Usually its nonconference meetings are scheduled a few years in advance, like a posh restaurant.
In five-star eating establishments, the patrons are waited on, pampered and given an expensive bill. Coming to Ohio State on a Saturday afternoon, however, is quite the opposite. The visiting team is given a large wad of money and all it has to do is get brutalized for four quarters. This is where UT and BGSU come in.
Last year, both the Rockets and Falcons were on the 2011 schedule. But almost without a whisper, BGSU released its list of future football opponents with a nondescript update on its website: “Ohio State has been removed from the 2011 schedule and replaced with West Virginia. A potential date is still being determined to play Ohio State (likely in 2014, 2016 or 2017).”
The moderator of the blog/message board AY-ZIGGY-ZOOMBA.com reached out to the BGSU athletic department but no one would comment on the reasons for the schedule switch. It was pointed out, however, that the payout for both games was the same (although not nearly as much as the $1.4 million Colorado’s getting for coming to Columbus as the sacrificial steak). And hey, maybe they can find cheaper hotels in Morgantown, too!
So that’s cool. The Falcons still get a marquee opponent next year. But West Virginia is not OSU. Toledoans don’t fawn over WV athletics. There are no “Buckeye & Wolverine & Mountaineer Shop” locations around here. So it’s a little disappointing, even if you ignore the silent announcement of this schedule change.
Because what’s the added advantage for OSU to play Colorado instead of BGSU? The Buffaloes may have a larger fanbase, but it’s way the heck out there in the mountains. Do they travel well? More to the point, will they travel better than the couple-of-hours trip down U.S. 23 that the Falcons faithful would drive? Is CU even that much of a better opponent?
CU coach Dan Hawkins, perhaps in a career decision on par with Shelley Long leaving “Cheers,” left Boise State to coach the Buffs in 2004. That was the year before the Broncos’ memorable Fiesta Bowl win against Oklahoma. As a coach in Colorado, Hawkins has a win-loss record of 16-33, or two more wins than Boise State had last year. What I’m trying to say is that the team is bad.
So other than being a Pac-10 opponent, what’s the allure? Why break one commitment with a geographically-sensible opponent to instead play, at best, someone marginally better?
In 2003, BGSU almost became the first school in Ohio since the Harding Administration to beat the Buckeyes in football. A score of 24-17 in favor of OSU was finalized on the Falcons’ last drive. In ’06, the score was slightly more comfortable for the scarlet and gray: 35-7. Such is the norm for the Buckeyes; it’s almost not September without a beatdown of someone within the state border. In fact, last year, the Rockets lost to OSU “at home” (Cleveland Browns Stadium) 38-0, and some thought beforehand they just might be able to pull off the upset. After all, a week before that they laid 53 points on … guess who? Colorado.
Matt Sussman also blogs about Mid-American Conference athletics at www.hustlebelt.com.