Big Names, Big Game
Sometimes when it comes to bowl games, the best way to pick a winner is by deciding which team doesn’t really want to be there.
When Ohio State and USC get together like they are in the Cotton Bowl, however, you don’t have that same luxury. Both teams had playoff aspirations, but both teams will come into this game wanting to get a big win over a big-name program.
“I mean, that’s a traditionally rich program right there,” senior linebacker Chris Worley said of USC. “Just like Ohio State. They’ve had some crazy guys come through there. And I actually remember the battles when I was younger and just watching them play, watching some of the guys that I know playing in those games and things like that. It’s going to be fun.”
The Buckeyes and Trojans last played in 2008 and 2009, but not everybody on the team remembers those games, and they weren’t even alive the last time these two teams met in a bowl game.
None of that matters, however, because everyone on this OSU team knows about USC.
“The younger generation, everyone knows about Ohio State/USC,” Worley said. “And it’s crazy, but at the same time it’s going to be a team out there that’s looking to show the world why they deserve to be in as well. And I’m pretty sure they had a case for the same situation. So it’s going to be two teams out there battling, trying to get a Cotton Bowl championship.
Urban Meyer Remembers
Not every Buckeye football player remembers those two games in 2008 and 2009, and truth be told, OSU fans don’t care to remember them either.
When asked what he remembers about the Ohio State and USC rivalry, Urban Meyer obviously goes a bit further back.
“I remember back in 1979 when Earle Bruce took over for Woody Hayes and they had a chance to win the national championship. And I remember the tailback was, I believe, Charles White, and it was a one-point game. And I remember watching that,” he said.
Meyer has experienced a rivalry with USC at two schools, and has built up a great respect for the Trojans program because of it.
“I grew up an Ohio State fan, so I’ve always had great respect for the Rose Bowl and these two teams playing against each other,” he said. “And when I was at Notre Dame, I had the opportunity to coach every year against USC. I love that stadium. I love the tradition, and it has always been one of my favorite places, just when you hear the fight song, etc. So just a lot of respect for USC and, obviously, this game.”
Showing You Belonged
Ohio State and USC will be watching the College Football Playoffs from home this year, so there is a thought that they may want to show the selection committee that maybe they got the top four teams wrong.
“You obviously want to show that you were one of the top teams in the country,” said OSU receiver Terry McLaurin. “So what better test to have both champions from two opposite conferences going at it and only one team can win? And then you’ve got two teams that add on to it with tradition like Ohio State and USC. So guys are really excited for this game. It’s a New Year’s Six game.”
While the Cotton Bowl won’t be for anything other than a single trophy and program pride, there are expected to be a ton of eyeballs tuned in on December 29 when USC and Ohio State finally do kick off.
“I wouldn’t be too surprised if this were one of the more watched games of the whole bowl season just with all the tradition and things that go into this game,” McLaurin said. “It’s two teams that were vying to get into the Playoff. Didn’t necessarily get there, but they’re excited to go at each other.”