Kelee Ringo

Buckeyes Versus Bulldogs Big Time Scheduling Rarity

It is difficult to believe that the Buckeyes and Bulldogs have only played one another one time despite each program having more than 130 years of football playing experience.

Ohio State played its first football game in 1890 while the University of Georgia followed suit just two years later. That is a lot of games to be played by each program, and with all of that there is only the overlap of the 1993 Citrus Bowl.

Ohio State and UGA have one another on the schedule for the 2030-31 seasons to play the first home-and-home series in the history of the ‘rivalry’, but with the trajectory of college football, conference realignment and a potential move to super conferences, any hope of those games realistically being played should be greeted with extreme caution.

The two teams had a series on the books once upon a time, for 2000 and 2001 seasons, but that game fell by the wayside when the Big Ten and Pac-12 entered into a short-lived and ultimately doomed scheduling agreement.

Most games between the SEC and Big Ten conferences happen in bowl games rather than the regular season with various bowl agreements pitting the two conferences against one another. Now in the College Football Playoff era, there is also a chance of a selection committee putting the two leagues up against one another.

Ohio State holds a 1-1 record against the SEC under the umbrella of the CFP, both of those games taking place against Alabama. The Buckeyes have a 2014 win in the semifinals and a 2020 loss in the championship game versus the Crimson Tide.

UGA on the other hand has only played in the CFP two previous times and has a record of 1-0 with a 34-11 win over Michigan in the semifinals in the 2021 season, on the way to UGA’s first national championship since 1980.

It is no secret that Ohio State’s record against the SEC has not been great, Ohio State did not get its first SEC win in a bowl game until the 2010 season, a win over Arkansas, a win that isn’t even the books as fallout from “Tat-gate”. Trust me, I was there, it happened.

So, if you live by the letter of the NCAA record books, Ohio State’s only win over the SEC was that 2014 win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

On the other side, UGA has had success against Big Ten schools through the years, a record of 10-2 against the Big Ten (while schools were part of the Big Ten) and 11-4-1 against current members of the Big Ten, regardless of their affiliation at the time of the game.

It certainly does not help the Big Ten that most of the SEC/Big Ten games through the years have taken place in SEC country with games at the Citrus Bowl, Outback Bowl (and various other names including Hall of Fame), Gator, Sugar Bowl, and Peach Bowl all within the SEC footprint.

Couple that with a history of Big Ten teams being slotted unevenly with their SEC foes as the Big Ten has a precedent of putting multiple teams into the New Year’s Six or BCS or whatever the current flavor of the year is called. It is only worse when a game calls for the third team from the Big Ten against the SEC runner-up, and then you see that third team in the Big Ten is actually the fifth team in the Big Ten.

But you must win the games in front of you and there is no denying that the Big Ten has not held up its end of the bargain in many of these games and Ohio State is just as responsible as any other team, letting games away throughout the years.

This history has little to do with what we will see on December 31st in the Peach Bowl as history is just that, history.

Kirk Herbstreit and Jeff Cothran colliding and leading to an Ohio State fumble that allowed Georgia to break a 14-all tie and go 80 yards for the eventual game winning score with less than five minutes left is 30 years in the past.

Not a one of the players who will be participating in this game were around the last time these two teams met. Ohio State coaches Corey Dennis and Parker Fleming would have been at best infants when the teams last played.

It is all about the here-and-now and nobody gave Ohio State much of a chance against Alabama eight years ago, the Buckeyes were a nine-point underdog in that game and came away with a seven-point win. It will take a lot to match those results but there is a reason the games are played, even one between two teams that never appear on the schedule of the other.

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