With a huge home-and-home series with Oregon already in the pipes, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told the Columbus Dispatch Tuesday evening that the school is in talks with San Diego State University, the same school that produced current Michigan head coach Brady Hoke, to potentially take the place of Vanderbilt for 2013's season opener. Vandy had previously canceled their 2013 game with Ohio State in a letter. The Dispatch's Bill Rabinowitz had the details:
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith confirmed to the Dispatch that the schools were in discussions with the Aztecs, but said a deal has not been finalized.
If the Aztecs are added, it's likely that the University of Buffalo, which is now scheduled to play the Buckeyes on Sept. 7, would move up to the spot Vanderbilt vacated on Aug. 31. The San Diego State game would be Sept. 7.
We'd be able to assume Rabinowitz meant the 21st, as that's when the Buffalo game is scheduled as present, but San Diego State already has a home game against Oregon State that weekend they probably wouldn't be in any rush to do without. The Aztecs also have a game the 7th, the purported date, at Utah State, who probably wouldn't want to let SDSU out of such a date without strong compensation.
Based on what we know about San Diego State's schedule as of now, the Aztecs actually have a vacancy the weekend of the 31st as best as we can tell. That would also add a bit more cachet to the start of the season than former Cincinnati interim head coach Jeff Quinn's Buffalo Bulls. The Aztecs memorably came to Columbus in 2003 when they jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and actually remained competitive with the Buckeyes throughout the entirety of a contest that ended in Ohio State's favor, 16-13. A Will Allen tipped pass INT returned a hundred yards proved to be the difference in what otherwise was mostly a field goal kicking contest. They also made a return trip in 2005 jumping out to another quick lead before falling, 27-6.
Overall, Ohio State would still be looking at a 2013 home slate (in no official order) of San Diego State, Florida A&M, Buffalo, Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, and Indiana. Not exactly the kind of mandate one needs to raise ticket prices as the athletic department is prone to do. Particularly following a year in which Ohio State football ticket sales have been the worst they've been in recent memory, it's difficult to imagine an offering like this working much better in the university's favor.