Despite a series full of bowls and elite teams, this year's Cotton Bowl will mark the first time USC and Ohio State will meet outside of the Coliseum, Horseshoe or Rose Bowl. Pacific on Friday, December 29 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Instead, Penn State and Washington will play in the Fiesta Bowl. "To expect, I didn't study it that much", Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said about the playoff.
As for the Trojans, it's been a climb back to the top, but beating Stanford twice and having the second win be for the PAC-12 conference is something the committee didn't want to ignore.
OSU won the Big Ten Championship game against the University of Wisconsin and is now 11-2.
Ohio State: second appearance in the Cotton Bowl; 49th bowl overall.
The Trojans beat Texas Tech 55-14 at the Cotton Bowl on January 1, 1995. "We'll be fine. It's going to sting for a while and then get around those you love and care about and move on".
Despite preseason aspirations of going to the playoff -plus midseason setbacks in the form of road losses to Washington State and Notre Dame- the Cotton Bowl is a flawless opportunity for USC to end the season on a high note.
Many pundits had expected the two teams to play each other if both missed the playoff.
ROLLING ON OFFENSE: The Trojans had 501 total yards in the Pac-12 title game. Michael Pittman Jr. set a Pac-12 championship game record with 146 yards receiving on seven catches. A relocated Rose Bowl-style game between the Buckeyes and Trojans would have made sense. The game matched Big 12 and SEC teams before that.