Ohio State is apparently very serious about stepping up the strength of its nonconference schedules. And the Buckeyes must like Texas barbecue.
Last week, the school announced it had inked a home-and-home series with TCU for 2018 and 2019. On Wednesday, Ohio State revealed plans to play another Lone Star State team with even more juice: The Buckeyes will face Texas in 2022 and 2023.
Now that's genuinely exciting. Who can forget the second game of the 2005 season, when Texas came to the Horseshoe when both teams were ranked in the Top 5 and Vince Young led the Longhorns to victory? (Well, maybe Ohio State fans want to forget that one). These are two of the winningest college football teams of all time, as well as two of the very richest athletic programs in the land. This kind of matchup is one that even casual fans dream of watching, and they'll get to do just that on Sept. 17, 2022 (in Austin) and Sept. 16, 2023 (in Columbus).
You can thank both the incoming four-team playoff structure and the dissolution of the Big Ten/Pac-12 series for this game. The Buckeyes know they will need strong nonconference schedules to have a chance to reach the football version of the final four, and I doubt they would have been willing to take this on if they'd already had a spot reserved on the schedule for a potentially tough Pac-12 opponent.
The Buckeyes' schedules will have a decidedly Big 12 flavor in the future. In addition to the Texas and TCU series, Ohio State is schedule to play Oklahoma in 2016 and 2017. These four games against Texas schools are also strategic in that they could help the Buckeyes reach into that recruiting-rich area in the future.
The lone drawback to this announcement is that the games are so far away. Will Urban Meyer still be coaching Ohio State in 10 years? We can almost guarantee Mack Brown won't be at Texas. Yet these programs have gotten to the point that they are too big to fail, so we don't have too worry too much about either falling off a cliff between now and then (though anything is possible).
This is what Ohio State, with all its resources, should be doing. It's very encouraging to see the Buckeyes and other Big Ten teams add strong opponents to their future schedules -- Wisconsin is working on a game with Alabama in 2015, for example. Now all they've got to do is win their share of those games.