Ohio State football: How the Cotton Bowl can make or break Buckeyes' 2024 season

The final game of the Ohio State football team's 2023 is in just a couple of weeks. Here's how that final game, the Cotton Bowl, can make or break next year for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State v Purdue
Ohio State v Purdue / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The Ohio State football team won't get a shot to play for a national championship this season as they have missed the College Football Playoff. Instead, they get to play SEC foe Missouri in the Cotton Bowl. That game has implications for not only the end of this season but next season as well.

Why is that? Because of who is starting at quarterback for the Buckeyes. Devin Brown gets the nod now that Kyle McCord is headed to Syracuse. It's his first start of his career. Because of that, he is auditioning for the starting job next season since Ohio State hasn't gotten a transfer quarterback.

If Brown goes out there and plays some elite football, he could seize the starting job before Spring practice starts up. He's now the longest-tenured quarterback on the roster and knows the offense better than anyone else. If he throws for 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns, it's going to be hard for Lincoln Kienholz or Air Noland to take the job away in the Spring.

However, there is a chance that Brown plays poorly. If he plays poorly, then the 2024 season could be a repeat of what the 2023 season was. There will likely be another quarterback battle that lasts into the Fall. I'm afraid that no one will separate themselves again.

In that scenario, the Ohio State football team would have another season where their margin of error is tiny. They would once again be forced to rely on their defense because of the inexperience on the offensive side of the ball. Would they be able to win games like that for the second year in a row?

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With most of the Buckeyes opting into the Cotton Bowl, Brown should have most of the elite weapons that were available all year long. That could give him some confidence heading into next year.