David Jablonski/Cox Media Group
USC coach Clay Helton (left) and Ohio State's Urban Meyer greet each other ahead of the Cotton Bowl Classic.

Ohio State football: Buzz building in Big D ahead of Buckeyes-USC Cotton Bowl clash

Austin Ward

All week long, our Land of 10 reporters following the Buckeyes will address pressing questions on the minds of the Ohio State fan base with our new daily feature. To ask Austin Ward a question, follow along on Twitter and suggest a topic right here. Check back Monday through Friday as we dive into the Ohio State Question of the Day. Go here to see all of our previous answers.

The College Football Playoff may be casting an enormous shadow over bowl season in this new era for the sport, but it doesn’t really seem to be impacting the Cotton Bowl Classic. From the organizers to the support staff and up and down both rosters, everybody in Texas appears to have fully bought into the fact that this is a big game with a marquee matchup and is treating it that way. Even local artists are pouring a lot of time and effort into making sure Ohio State and Southern Cal are represented well.

Ohio State-Buckeyes-Brutus Buckeye-USC Trojans-Cotton Bowl Classic
Artists in Dallas recreated USC and Ohio State mascots out of tires. (Austin Ward/Land of 10)

Now, all of that is easy to say after practices in the buildup to the game, and the level of motivation for both teams will be clear come kickoff Friday night at AT&T Stadium. But in terms of having teams devastated by missing out on the playoff, that doesn’t appear to be the case. From an Ohio State perspective, it feels much more like there is motivation to prove it was snubbed. That sort of disappointment or anger can be channeled into powerful fuel, and combining that with the last chance for veterans such as J.T. Barrett, Billy Price or Tyquan Lewis to wear the scarlet and gray should ensure the Buckeyes put forth good effort.

Is the weather great in Dallas this week? Not really, but fortunately that won’t be an issue thanks to the roof at Jerry World. There should be no excuses for either program in that regard in what is truly a football palace, and there already have been a number of Ohio State fans showing up around town ready for the game to add to the experience in the stands.

The sense here is that matching up two conference champions with storied traditions has helped the Cotton Bowl stand out even with the playoff looming. And with both sides looking to prove something, there’s a solid chance this game might just live up to that “Classic” billing.

Read more answers to questions about the Ohio State Buckeyes here