By Anthony Chmielewski
Bowl season has arrived in college football and that means throughout late December there will be a full slate of games to watch. Ohio State, who is ranked 7th, will face off against one of the most prestigious football programs, Notre Dame, on Jan. 1 in the Battlefrog Fiesta Bowl.
While Ohio State certainly had its sights set on the crashing the college football playoff two years in a row, playing in the Fiesta Bowl is not too much of a letdown. Although the Buckeyes wanted to make the playoff, they only have themselves to blame as they lost their biggest game of the year against Michigan State with a lackluster performance.
“We did this to ourselves type of deal. We beat Michigan State, then the Team Up North, we’re not even having this conversation, you know what I’m saying?” Quarterback J.T. Barrett said according to Cleveland.com.
Ohio State has a tough task trying to defeat Notre Dame who currently sits one spot behind the Buckeyes in the rankings. Head coach Urban Meyer seems to always prepare his teams for the big games as he did last year in the playoff when the underdog Buckeyes knocked off both Alabama and Oregon.
One of the toughest things for the Buckeyes to do is stay focused while preparing for the game as it seems half the team is ready to go to the NFL. The players already have a national championship on their resume, and may have their focus on preparing for the draft rather than the Fiesta Bowl.
Ohio State will have a very good chance of winning if they fall back on what they do best which is running the ball with one of the best NFL prospects, Ezekiel Elliott. The one game the Buckeyes lost was in large due to the fact Elliott only had twelve carries which is unacceptable for someone so talented. Elliott and his teammates believed he was snubbed from the Heisman trophy won by Alabama running back Derrick Henry. One should expect a big game from Elliott as he tries to prove the doubters wrong in what will be his last game in a Buckeye uniform.
The Buckeyes’ defense will also have to step it up a notch against the very good offensive line from Notre Dame. Ohio State defensive lineman Adolphus Washington has been suspended for the bowl game meaning players like star defensive back Joey Bosa will need to have a big game.
Overall, one can expect an enjoyable, hard fought game as both teams will try to prove the playoff committee made a mistake not picking them. It will likely be an emotional game for some players from both teams will be headed to the draft or graduating after their last game with their respective teams.
On New Year’s day and throughout late December and early January, there will be many fun and enjoyable matchups to watch this year as bowl season is finally here.