For those who decide to miss out on Friday’s 82nd annual Cotton Bowl Classic, one of the dream matchups of the college football bowl season, the Ohio State Buckeyes will return to AT&T Stadium in 2018.
Ohio State, which was scheduled to arrive Saturday for bowl-week preparations, will return to Arlington on Sept. 15 to play TCU. The Buckeyes and Horned Frogs were initially scheduled to play a home-and-home series in 2018 and 2019.
Why would two teams disrupt such a fine arrangement? Money, naturally.
Each program will receive $5 million. Both teams also benefit in 2019 by scheduling a team they are less likely to lose to — Miami (Ohio) at home for Ohio State and Purdue on the road for TCU — and keep their national-title hopes alive.
Pretty sure there’s a big payday that comes with that, too.
Ohio State has infiltrated the Lone Star State to nab seven players, including their star. J.T. Barrett, from Wichita Falls Rider High, is still the Buckeyes’ quarterback, for one more game, and has accounted for 3,671 yards and 45 touchdowns this season. He is 37-6 as a starter and has thrown for a school-record 104 touchdowns. The Buckeyes’ leading rusher is also a Texan, true freshman J.K. Dobbins of La Grange. Junior guard Demetrius Knox (Fort Worth All Saints) helps clear holes for both of them.
Fresh back from the beaches of Cabo to resume his place in the Cowboys’ offense is Ezekiel Elliott, who first played at AT&T Stadium in 2015 as the top running back for Ohio State on its way to the national championship — the first of the College Football Playoff. All he did in that 42-20 victory over Oregon was rush for 246 yards and four touchdowns, including the final three of the game.
“Just great memories as the plane touched down in Dallas,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “I'm sure there will be great memories when we walk in that beautiful stadium. Other than that, it's just, like you said, great memories.”
Six Buckeyes have won college football’s most prestigious award, including the only two-time winner. Tailback Archie Griffin won back-to-back awards in 1974 and 1975, and Ohio State had to wait 20 years until their next winner, running back Eddie George. Quarterback Troy Smith won their seventh and most recent in 2006.
What is a Buckeye?
It’s not hard to figure out what a Trojan is. USC’s mascot is that of the powerful soldier from ancient Troy. A Buckeye doesn’t seem quite as daunting. The state tree of Ohio is the buckeye, and the nuts that fall from it are buckeyes. However, according to the OSU website, the term Buckeye was first used in 1788 as a local Indian tribe shouted its word for buckeye at Col. Ebenezer Sproat, who was “a 6-foot-4 man of large girth and swashbuckling mannerisms” and who impressed the tribe with “his stature and manner.”
Road to JerryWorld
The Buckeyes weren’t expecting to be here, but the College Football Playoff committee thought Alabama deserved the No. 4 spot in the playoff even though Nick Saban’s bunch didn’t even win — much less play — for its conference championship. A premium matchup in the Cotton Bowl is Ohio State’s consolation prize for winning the Big Ten. Losses at home to Oklahoma and the costlier one on the road by 31 points to Iowa prevent the Buckeyes from playing for their ninth national title.