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Cotton Bowl: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. USC Trojans
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Friday, December 29th, 2017
"Your Local Sports &
Ohio State's Big Ten Championship wasn't enough to get the Buckeyes into the College Football Playoff. (Marvin Fong, The Plain Dealer)
Locations: Dayton, OH
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By Bill Landis, cleveland.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State's 31-point loss to Iowa mattered.
That was the question hanging over the Buckeyes as Sunday's College Football Playoff selection show approached. Ohio State has better wins than Alabama, and the Buckeyes won their conference with a 27-21 win over previously unbeaten Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship on Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide, though, didn't have an inexplicable blowout loss to a team that finished 7-5. And they only had one loss.
So it's Alabama (11-1), not Ohio State (11-2), going to the playoff.
The No. 4 Tide will play No. 1 Clemson in a semifinal at the Sugar Bowl, a rematch of the last two national championships, a rubber match for Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban. No. 2 Oklahoma will play No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl.
Ohio State entered the weekend at No. 8, and finished No. 5. It will find out its New Year's Six bowl destination later on Sunday.
All the while the Buckeyes will be left wondering what would have happened if they didn't suffer a colossal 55-24 letdown in Iowa City one week after beating then-No. 4 Penn State, and put themselves briefly on what looked like a playoff path.
The conversation about Ohio State and Alabama that started raging last week when the Tide suffered their first and only loss was worth having. There wasn't a clear right answer. In the end, it was the loss at Iowa that did the Buckeyes in. They couldn't explain it away, even if Urban Meyer made an attempt to paint the picture of a changed team after beating Wisconsin.