As many schools are trying to ramp up their schedules in preparation for the new College Football Playoff, neutral site kickoff games have become even more popular. Alabama will face off against Virginia Tech in Atlanta for this year's matchup, and is scheduled to face West Virginia next season.
Could Ohio State be one of those teams in the near future? Well, we now know they have at least talked about it, although the odds seem long. From CBS:
Stokan told CBSSports.com he's spoken with USC, Michigan, UCLA and Notre Dame on a "very preliminary" basis about future appearances.
Chick-Fil-A also spoke with Ohio State, which Stokan says seems tied to the home-and-home model.
Stokan cautioned there are no finalized matchups and the process is in the research phase. It's truly a feeling-out process to see what might work for the bowl and the schools.
Michigan could be interested if the right opponent is involved, Stokan said.
That seems to jive with what we've heard from Gene Smith before, as he's emphasized the need for Ohio State to have seven home games a season to meet their obligations not just for their own budget, but to help community businesses as well. Ohio State might be able to make a ton of money by playing a game in Atlanta, but the hotels in Columbus might miss out on the payday.
There is also, of course, the fact that Ohio State is fairly booked full already with marquee names in the near future. The Buckeyes are completely booked for 2014 (and are facing Navy on a neutral field in Baltimore), 2016 and 2018, and have home and homes scheduled with big names like Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and North Carolina over the next few years. If the Buckeyes decide to set up a one off, big ticket game to open the season, they may want, or need, to reschedule or even cancel one of those arrangements.
Still, it isn't hard to be excited about the potential for a major opening week game, especially with the Buckeyes opening with Buffalo this season. There are still two, potentially three open slots for the 2015 schedule, with only a road game at Virginia Tech truly set in stone.
We can dream, Buckeye fans.