Cotton Bowl Predictions: Will Ohio State steamroll USC? 12/29/17

Big Ten champion Ohio State will face Pac-12 champion USC in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29

On the other side of the ball, the Trojans don't run it almost as much as Ohio State, but they can be effective in that facet, as Ronald Jones II is a big play waiting to happen with 1,651 yards, 6.5 yards per touch and 19 total touchdowns on the season.

ARLINGTON, Texas - There was disappointment at stages of USC's season.

If OSU takes care of all three of those, or even two out of three, it can win tonight. Others pointed to the few signs of progress and little incremental improvement.

It is hard to label an 11-2 SU season that resulted in a Pac-12 championship as a disappointment.

"I think we glued as a group previous year, made strides in a lot of areas", Pendergast said. "We've had a lot of great leadership and for us to go out with a big win in the Big Ten Championship, one of the biggest conferences in the country, to be able to win that is huge". Of Elliott, Meyer said, "I anticipate he's going to be with us for the game".

Total: Both offenses were high-scoring this season, but the Buckeyes ability to stop the run and get after Sam Darnold has me looking at the under here.

There are three factors that could determine if Ohio State wins or finishes with three losses for the first time since Meyer became the Buckeyes' coach in 2012. A vast majority of the Buckeye defenders will at least get long looks in the National Football League, with several ticketed for being high draft picks.

Darnold had a bad pick-six early in the game that had everyone buzzing about what exactly is wrong with him.

Ohio State (12-2) instead quickly settled in at the NFL stadium where it won the first national championship in the four-team CFP format. This is a huge game for the Buckeyes as they were left out of the College Football Playoffs even after winning the Big 12 Conference Championship. Ohio State allows 19.9 points per game compared to USC, who allows 26.3 points per game.

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However, there is no argument about who was the best team among those left out of the Final Four, not after Friday night's Cotton Bowl. "And for an organization to put their trust in me to be able to go out there and play football for them, I think any opportunity to play for anyone would be awesome and something that I've always dreamed of". Darnold said he has not reached a decision about his future, but he is eligible to enter the NFL Draft. His passer rating against ranked teams was fourth in the nation this season.

"This is just a classic, classic matchup on every level", Helton said, mentioning the schools, teams and bands.

Dwayne Haskins, who took over when Barrett was injured in the MI game, and led the Buckeyes to a road victory, will be the favorite to start as a redshirt sophomore next season. Christian Kirk caught 13 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns.

"We all want what's best for him", Meyer told ESPN.

The defensive line won up front, and the best example was that on a sack of Darnold, where four guys and ultimately a fifth got in for the hit.

So why did USC have tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe try to block Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa? Picks and inaccuracy were a problem early in the year, with nine of his 12 interceptions coming in the first six games.

Joe Boozell has been a college basketball writer for NCAA.com since 2015.

It'll be the Pac-12 champ versus the Big Ten champ, and the victor will lay claim to the best team left out of the playoff. Growing up, Joe squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NCAA or its member institutions.

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