- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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A planned home-and-home series between Ohio State and Georgia that was scheduled to begin in 2020 is now a casualty of the Pac-12/Big Ten schedule partnership.
Ohio State has reportedly asked out of the series against the Bulldogs, apparently because it didn't want to schedule them and a potentially tough Pac-12 team in 2020 and 2021. The Pac-12/Big Ten series is to begin in 2017, though Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith has told ESPN.com Ohio State won't participate in the first year because it has already scheduled Oklahoma and North Carolina that season.
"The bottom line, they said they couldn’t play,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told the Athens Banner-Herald. “I’m not upset.”
There is no cancellation penalty for Ohio State, because the schools only had a letter of understanding that was signed in December 2010, and not an official contract.
Get used to this. With the Pac-12 series looming and the potential for a difficult nonconference game every year, more Big Ten schools are likely to shy away from scheduling another high-level opponent outside of league play. Unless the new playoff system rewards strength of schedule or gives weight to conference champions who won't have to worry as much about dropping a nonconference game, this is probably the trend.
Ohio State fans will miss out on visiting a special environment in Athens, one of the best college towns around and home of the famous hedges. But Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer, who used to play the Bulldogs every year as part of the Georgia-Florida rivalry, probably won't miss it too much.