The Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2) takes on the USC Trojans (11-2) Friday night in the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
It’s a very intriguing matchup for both teams, JT Barrett will be playing his last game for Ohio State.
It also looks like possible first overall pick Sam Darnold may be playing his last for USC as well.
Who has the advantage?
Ohio State has a bad loss against Iowa, which ultimately was the deciding factor in keeping them out of the final four.
They’re ranked in the top ten on both sides of the ball, offensively ranked sixth. Defensively they come in ranked eigth.
Where as USC comes in ranked 13th offensively, defensively they rank outside of the top 50 in the nation, giving up over 400 YPG.
USC is known for playing a strict man to man defense, Ohio State has lots of speed.
With Barrett’s ability to run the football, and with JK Dobbins and Mike Weber in the backfield, it’s essential they establish the run early.
If they do that, expect the speed of the Ohio State receivers to make some noise down field early.
Quarterback play could also play a big part in Friday’s matchup.
Who has the Advantage?
Sam Darnold is possibly the first overall pick. His ability to make something out of nothing is intriguing, and the DB’s for Ohio State have been up and down to say the least.
Look for Darnold to avoid Denzel Ward as much as possible, if nobody else is ready to make plays for this unit, USC can do lots of damage throwing the football.
Now on the other side of things, this is JT Barrett’s last game as a Buckeye. He’s faced the most criticism I’ve seen as a starting quarterback for Ohio State.
Even though he’s set many records, his deep ball accuracy has vanished at times, and has arguably costed the Buckeyes a few games.
If JT is accurate tonight, USC will be in deep trouble.
Expect JT to have one of the best games of his career as he caps off one of the greatest careers as a college quarterback.
The Buckeyes offensive power is to strong for the USC defense, leading me to my prediction.
Ohio State : 38 USC : 28