Non-conference football games don’t get bigger than this.
Ohio State will play Alabama in a home-and-home series in 2027 and 2028, the schools confirmed on Thursday.
The Crimson Tide will come to Ohio Stadium on Sept. 18, 2027. Ohio State will go to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to play Sept. 9, 2028, in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The visiting team will receive a $1 million payment for both games. If a team backs out of the games, the fee will be $3 million to the other school. Both provisions are unusual for a game involving elite opponents.
“The reason why that is that high is the desired execution of this series,” Ohio State deputy athletic director Diana Sabau said. “Absolutely, 100%, both teams want to make this happen.”
The series will be the first regular-season games between the schools since they met in the Kickoff Classic on Aug. 27, 1986, at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. The teams have never played on each other’s campus.
Ohio State and Alabama have played four times, all at neutral sites. Alabama won the Kickoff Classic as well as the 1978 Sugar Bowl and 1995 Florida Citrus Bowl.
But the Buckeyes won the most important of their games, a semifinal of the inaugural College Football Playoff. Underdog Ohio State overcame a 21-6 deficit to defeat the top-ranked Crimson Tide 42-35 at the New Orleans Superdome. Ohio State then routed Oregon for the 2014 national title.
Along with Clemson, the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide have been the top teams in the CFP era. Under coach Nick Saban, a former Ohio State assistant, Alabama is 157-23 in 13 seasons. He has won five national titles for the Crimson Tide, the last in 2017. Saban will be 75 years old when Ohio State plays Alabama in 2027.
Ohio State has not played a Southeastern Conference opponent in the regular season since playing LSU in a home-and-home series in 1987 and ’88.
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