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Ohio State will play USC in the 2017 Cotton Bowl

It’s not a CFP semifinal bowl, but the Buckeyes will still play in a New Year’s Six bowl.

Big Ten Championship - Ohio State v Wisconsin Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Well, Ohio State’s win over Wisconsin for the Big Ten Championship wasn’t enough for the College Football Playoff committee to put the Buckeyes into the top four. Urban Meyer and team finished the season with a No. 5 ranking, sitting on the outside looking in — but, they’ll still play in a New Year’s Six bowl, in the Cotton Bowl against USC on Dec. 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

The Buckeyes needed a dominant performance against the Badgers on Saturday, and despite heading into halftime 21-7, the team had too many mistakes for the committee to have no choice but to add Ohio State to the playoffs. Instead, the committee decided to have two SEC teams in the top four spot, leaving the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences out of contention.

Instead of preparing for a playoff run, the Buckeyes will now shift focus to preparing for their last game of the season. This will be the last time a lot of these guys suit up for Ohio State, and will be sure to do everything they can to end on a high note.

Buckeye fans are all too familiar with the Trojans, who most recently beat Ohio State in 2008 and 2009 — both years under Jim Tressel. These two teams have yet to meet in the years since, or with Urban Meyer at the helm for the Scarlet and Gray.

It’s actually been 43 years since Ohio State has bested USC, and it was under legendary coach Woody Hayes in 1974 in Pasadena. Hayes is actually responsible for five of the nine overall wins Ohio State claims against the Trojans — although USC leads the overall series 13-9-1.

USC hasn’t been the pinnacle of consistency this year — in fairness though, it’s not like Ohio State has either —, but on a good day, the Trojans feature one of the top QBs in the country in Sam Darnold. Already expected to head to the NFL following the season, Darnold claims 26 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions (something certainly affected by the 21 sacks in 2017).

The Trojans won the Pac-12 Championship on Friday, and are heading into the bowl game 11-2, with losses to Washington State and Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish pretty much destroyed USC in October 49-14, handing them their worst loss of the season.