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Ohio State's Gene Smith Confirms Status Of Oregon Game

Ezekiel Elliott running the ball for Ohio State against Oregon football in the national championship.

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 12: Running back Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the Ohio State Buckeyes scores a 33-yard touchdown in the first quarter against the Oregon Ducks during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Oregon football vs. Ohio Statewas set to be one of the biggest non-conference games of the 2020 college football season, before COVID-19 reared its ugly head. The game, which was set to be in Eugene last fall, was canceled as both the Big Ten and Pac-12 delayed their seasons, and ultimately went to conference-only schedules when they got things started.

Luckily, it doesn't sound like last year's cancellation buts the home-and-home in jeopardy. On Wednesday, Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith confirmed that the 2021 game is still on the books for Sept. 11. Ohio State will host the Ducks this fall.

“Neither of us want to change the game,” Smith said, per The Plain Dealer. “It will cost us more to change the game. If we don’t play, we’ve got to buy somebody else in, so you’re paying whatever we’ll have to pay. And that game probably won’t be as attractive as us playing each other.”

Smith says that the return game at Oregon will happen, though Ducks fans may have to wait a few years based on current schedules. He hopes to have plans settled for that matchup by the third week of March, he told reporters.

Ohio State's next non-conference opening appears to be in 2024, though a trip to Oregon would mean two to the Pacific Northwest for the Buckeyes. They're scheduled to play at Washington that season. The Buckeyes are set to host Alabama and play at Boston College in 2027, and they're at Alabama in 2028. 2029 is the first year that Ohio State doesn't have any currently booked non-conference games.

Oregon's upcoming slate is also quite full. The first opening appears to be 2027, when the Ducks are schedule to host Utah State and play at Baylor (with the return games for those two series coming in 2028. The following two years, the Ducks have another Big Ten game on the books: Michigan State.

Ohio State has never lost in nine games with Oregon football. The last was among the most notable, when the Buckeyes blew out Marcus Mariota and company 42-20 in the 2014-15 National Championship Game.

[The Plain Dealer]