Ohio State vs. USC: Old Rivals Clash in Cotton Bowl


Ohio State vs. USC: Old time rivalry to be played in a different venue.

The younger group within Buckeye Nation may not know this but Ohio State used to play USC regularly until 1990.

In the modern era, besides Pitt and Big Ten schools, there is not a team the Buckeyes have played more than USC.

The Trojans’ are the one program that has consistently given the Buckeyes trouble over the years.

This why I believe if you took a poll of every Buckeyes’ fan over 45, a clear majority would say the team they hated the most outside of Michigan is USC.

The Trojans own the series record 13-9-1 and have won seven in a row dating back 1975.

Amazingly, this is only the third time these two teams have played each other in 27 years and it is the first time being played outside of Southern California or Ohio.

Between iconic coaches, Heisman winners and national championships, this rivalry is rich with history.

What will this game bring us?

Offense.  Potentially a lot of offense.

The Buckeyes rank No. 5 in scoring offense in the FBS averaging 42.5 points-per-game.  USC ranks No. 24 averaging 34.5 points-per-game.

A possible difference is Ohio State played five teams ranked in the top 25 in scoring defense and the Trojans played zero.

Another glaring issue for USC’s offense is red zone inefficiencies.  In 55 trips to the red zone this season, the Trojans only scored 33 touchdowns.

By comparison, the Buckeyes made 66 trips to the red zone and scored 44 touchdowns.

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Defensively, the Silver Bullets allow 19.9 points-per-game and the Trojans allow 26.3 points-per-game which is shocking given the talent.

For Ohio State, the concern is Sam Darnold’s ability to distribute the ball quickly.  Oklahoma, Penn State and Iowa picked apart the defense with quick throws.

Darnold is one the best quarterbacks in college football.  Like J.T. Barrett, Darnold has a strong collection of receivers that are quick and can break one for a touchdown on almost any play.

The Trojans also have a workhorse running back in Ronald Jones.  He finished the season with 1486 yards and 18 touchdowns.

USC’s defense is average against the run allowing 158.3 rushing yards-per-game.  Barrett, J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber will do damage on the ground if Urban Meyer and Kevin Wilson commit to it.

Special Teams will play an important part in this game. Velus Jones is a phenomenal return guy averaging 26.2 yards-per-return. The Buckeyes can’t allow him to give the Trojans’ offense good field position all night.

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This has the feel of a back and forth game with a late turnover deciding the game.  Darnold and Barrett will both play well and make this one of the best bowl games of the year.  Buckeyes come out on top 38-31.