The Cotton Bowl Classic didn’t land TCU, the team it hoped would fall in its Tarrant County lap, but it’s difficult to say the Cotton didn’t get a premier matchup of college football powers.
Big Ten champion Ohio State, which finished one spot out of the College Football Playoff, will face Pac-12 champion USC on Dec. 29 (7:30 p.m., ESPN) at AT&T Stadium.
The game might be the best of the bowl season, including the CFP Final Four, with both rosters filled with NFL talent and both programs oozing tradition.
“The Cotton Bowl, the folks in Dallas, they do such a great job,” CFP selection committee chair Kirby Hocutt said. “We understand the experience it is for the kids who play the [game]. The matchups that the CFP process has brought about have been tremendous for the game of football.”
Ohio State (11-2) last played at AT&T Stadium on Jan. 12, 2015, when it beat Oregon to win the national championship. The Buckeyes have only one appearance in the Cotton Bowl, beating Texas A&M 28-12 on Jan. 1, 1987.
The Buckeyes beat Wisconsin 27-21 on Saturday to win the Big Ten title game but were pushed out of the national-title picture when Alabama emerged as the No. 4 seed.
USC (11-2) is the No. 8 seed despite playing one of the toughest schedules in the country and prevailing as Pac-12 champs. The Trojans also have only one previous Cotton Bowl appearance, routing Texas Tech 55-14 on Jan. 2, 1995.