Ohio State football canceled its upcoming home-and-home series against the University of Washington for the 2024 and 2025 college football seasons. The initial schedule had the Buckeyes traveling to the Huskies in 2024 before hosting in 2025. Now, neither meeting will occur.
According to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, the cancellation is in response to a more challenging conference schedule with the addition of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten for the 2024 season.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said that the Buckeyes initiated the cancellation and will pay a $500,000 penalty to Washington as stipulated in the previously agreed contract between the two schools. The penalty must be paid by February 2025.
Smith added that canceling the Washington game allows Ohio State to add an eighth home game in 2024, which will help fund the penalty payment and guarantee a new eighth opponent for that year.
“We initiated the cancellation,” Smith said in a news release. “I have the utmost respect for the University of Washington and Director of Athletics Jennifer Cohen, and this was a very difficult call to make.”
Washington’s athletic director Jennifer Cohen expressed her disappointment in the cancellation, saying, “We are very disappointed that our student-athletes, staff, and Husky Nation won’t get to experience these two games with Ohio State. Everyone has had these dates circled for a number of years, and we were looking forward to these opportunities to compete against the Buckeyes.”
It’s still being determined who Ohio State will replace Washington with on the schedule in either year. However, 247Sports Bucknuts’ Patrick Murphy speculates that the replacement could be a less formidable opponent. “It’s going to be difficult at this point if we’re talking any marquee opponents in those two games. It depends on who is available that week. And, a lot of teams have their nonconference games scheduled years in advance.”
Washington now only has non-conference games scheduled with Weber State and Eastern Michigan in 2024 and Colorado State and UC Davis in 2025. As a result, Cohen is currently looking for new opponents for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
The cancellation of the series against Washington is a blow to Ohio State fans who enjoy watching the team play challenging non-conference games.
An Ohio State football fan expressed his disappointment: “I was looking forward to this matchup in both years. I like that the Bucks make it a priority to schedule hard games in the non-conference slate. They’re fun to watch and help the team prepare for Big Ten play.”
Ohio State will need to add a non-conference game at Ohio Stadium in 2024, either on Sept. 7 or Sept. 14, and replace the home game against the Huskies in 2025 on Sept. 6 or Sept. 13. The Big Ten’s 2024 schedule will release in October.
Ohio State canceling its series against Washington has led some college football fans to question whether the Buckeyes are lightening their non-conference schedule compared to other top teams. Although Ohio State has historically scheduled challenging games against powerhouses such as Notre Dame and Texas, canceling the Washington series raises questions about the team’s future non-conference schedule.
This is particularly timely since the College Football Playoff announced last year that it will expand to 12 teams starting in the 2024-25 season, making strength of schedule even more critical for teams with national championship aspirations.
As the college football landscape continues to evolve, it remains to be seen whether Ohio State will prioritize challenging non-conference opponents or opt for a more manageable schedule to maximize its chances of making the expanded playoff.
What do you think about Ohio State cancelling their home-and-home series against Washington?