Home Field Disadvantage: Ohio State AD Prefers Buckeyes Play Away From Columbus

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If the Ohio State football team craves some home cooking, they’ll have to find a chef other than athletic director Gene Smith. Earlier this week, Smith made the curious suggestion that the Buckeyes should play future home Playoff games away from Columbus and in an indoor environment.

For context, should the NCAA expand to a 12-team College Football Playoff as expected, higher-seeded teams from northern states will likely be given the option of playing their first-round game at home or at an indoor stadium of their choosing in order to avoid inclement weather.

“I would prefer to have the indoor elements and have a clean field,” Smith said in response to a question about OSU potentially hosting a College Football Playoff game.

Though Smith’s stance may sound strange to almost everybody, he does have a reason for it. He believes that the current Ohio State roster would fare better with an indoor surface and a temperature-controlled environment, rather than at the Horseshoe in Columbus, which is prone to bad weather.

“If it was this year, I would want (Buckeye quarterback C.J. Stroud) to have good weather,” said Smith. “It’s just that simple.”

Of course, OSU would also have fans there, as well as the elements, if they hosted a home game, ya know, at home.

OutKick’s Bobby Carpenter, a former Ohio State standout, was amongst the many who were baffled by Smith’s suggestion.

“I feel like I might be taking crazy pills… at what point would you every (sic) want to turn down a 100k seat home field advantage,” tweeted Carpenter. “Especially with potential elements against a southern or western team.”

“Is he drunk,” another confused Buckeye fan tweeted in response to Smith’s comments.

As Smith sees it, an indoor venue is more advantageous than 100,000 fans or a snowstorm that would probably be unfamiliar to an SEC team.

“I want a clean environment,” said Smith. “I don’t want a hard surface for players. I know fans would love to have it in the Shoe where it’s snowing and we’re playing whoever. But that surface is a whole new ball game.”

Unaware of all the egg already on his face, Smith added: “So while it’s difficult to take it away from the Shoe, I still think that’s the right thing to do for the players in the game.”

Sounds less than appetizing for Buckeye fans, but Nick Saban and the rest of the SEC coaches have to be lickin’ their chops.


Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF


Written by Anthony Farris


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  1. Stupid comment from AD Smith and he obviously has forgotten history on home-field, cold-weather advantage vs. southern teams…look at the NFL as well. Anthony’s right: the SEC would want nothing more than perfect conditions. Smith might want to check his “field hardness” comments too… unless you had multiple days with sub-freezing conditions and zero field maintenance done, field hardness would be no different

  2. The weather in Columbus in early to mid December is fine. People think it’s 20 below with a foot of snow on the ground when the reality is it’s usually between 40 and 50 degrees. Are there years when it’s cold and snowy? Yes. But there are other years when it’s in the 60’s. This comment by Smith was a head scratcher.

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