Ohio State football: 2015 Northern Illinois game in flux

Will Northern Illinois be on the outside looking in? - Mike Ehrmann

According to an Ohio State associate athletic director, the presumed September 12th, 2015 matchup with Northern Illinois might not be as much of a sure thing as once thought.

With Ohio State's 2014 football schedule set in stone, the attention turns to what's on the horizon for the Buckeyes in 2015. Louisville head coach Charlie Strong mentioned earlier in the week that he'd love to play OSU and friend (and former colleague) Urban Meyer, but that doesn't look within the realm of possibilities any time soon.

But with a home-and-home logistically challenging if not impossible, what about a neutral site game in Cincinnati, say in 2015? That's not any more likely. The Buckeyes still have a number of vacancies to square away for the '15 season – and could have another before they know it.

Ohio State associate athletic director Martin Jarmond told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that even with two spots already open for the 2015 season, the Buckeyes may find themselves with a third shortly. According to Jarmond, Northern Illinois may have a complication with their currently scheduled September 12, 2015 trip to Columbus that could culminate in a cancellation.

Part of that may be strategic maneuvering on the part of soon-to-be first year head coach Rod Carey, who's attempting to make the rare move from primarily offensive line coach to the head man in just a few short years for a team coming off joining an elite fraternity of glass ceiling shattering non-power conference football teams who made their way to a BCS bowl. Though we all know that ended somewhat ignominiously, it's fairly common place for new head coaches to (re-)negotiate their inventory in such a way to either better cater to fans, or punt on potentially more difficult tests until they've had a chance to put their finger prints all over their program.

The only other set-in-stone matchup for the Buckeyes in 2015 is a Week 3 trip to Blacksburg to renew acquaintances with premiere 2014 non-conference foe, Virginia Tech. With weeks one & four still needing an opponent (and Week 2 rapidly looking less certain), which teams could the Buckeyes wind up squaring off with?

We've previously explored the subject, and most of the options aren't exactly glamorous. Syracuse, Houston, Louisiana Tech, and the service academies are just a few of the options still available for the Bucks this late in the game. The question remains whether a school like Syracuse would be willing to take a one-off road game arrangement, or more likely (as their fans are quick to point out), push for a delayed return trip to somewhere like MetLife Stadium a decade down the road.

Stay tuned.

Who do you think Ohio State should potentially look into taking on with a potential three openings for the 2015 football schedule? Let us know in the comments below.

UPDATE: Northern Illinois' Director of Athletics has chimed in on the matter:

Well OK then. Athletic director Frazier replied to our jovial "look forward to seeing you guys in Columbus in 2015" with "Can't wait! Good luck this season!" Take that for what it's worth.

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