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College Football Bowl Previews

Jeff Shain, OFN CFB writer
12/29/2017 12:14PM ET

OHIO ST. (11-2) VS. USC (11-2)

Site: AT&T Stadium, Irving, Texas.

Kickoff: Friday, 8:30 p.m. TV: ESPN.

Line: Ohio State by 7 ½.

All-time series: USC leads 13-9-1.

Last meeting: USC 18, Ohio St. 15 (2009).


Coach: Urban Meyer (6th season, 72-8; overall 16th season, 176-31).

All-time postseason: 23-25.

Last postseason appearance: Lost to Clemson 31-0 in 2016 Fiesta Bowl (CFP semifinal).

Draft spotlight: C Billy Price. When a coaching staff at Ohio State says “best ever,” you have to pay attention. The Rimington Trophy winner has the power from the base up to move defenders with his legs.  His initial punch is enough to stifle a defender off the snap to a point where he can’t recover. Read full report here.

Other Buckeyes to watch: OT Jamarco Jones, DE Jalyn Holmes, LB Chris Worley, FS Damon Webb.

Buckeye Bits: Ohio State is the only team in the nation to rank in the top 10 in both total offense (523.6 yards per game) and total defense (292.3). … Sophomore DE Nick Bosa joined older brother Joey to earn All-America honors while at OSU. … This marks just the second Cotton Bowl appearance for the Buckeyes. They beat Texas A&M in the 1987 edition.


Coach: Clay Helton (3rd season, 27-9).

All-time postseason: 35-18.

Last postseason appearance: Beat Penn State 52-49 in 2016 Rose Bowl.

Draft spotlight: QB Sam Darnold. Potentially the No.1 pick, Darnold surveys the field well and has a strong enough arm to make the throws required. He is a decent athlete whose physical skill set is not exceptional, so he will have to make up for that with accuracy, field vision and decision-making.
Other Trojans to watch: *RB Ronald Jones II, WR Stephen Mitchell, *LB Cameron Smith, LB Uchenna Nwosu, SS Chris Hawkins.

Trojan Tales: USC owns a seven-game winning streak over Ohio State, including three in bowls. The last time the Buckeyes beat USC was the 1974 Rose Bowl. … Darnold needs 213 yards passing to become the first USC QB to throw for 4,000 in a season. … The Trojans’ 35 bowl victories are No.2 all-time behind Alabama (38).

* underclass draft prospect

Click here to listen to Mike Huguenin, managing editor for on the CFB Playoffs and key bowl games.

Click here to listen to a preview of the bowl season including today’s Cotton Bowl.