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Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

Buckeyes Arrive, Get Down to Business

The Ohio State Buckeyes didn’t waste any time starting their on-site preparation for the 82nd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

The team’s flight landed late morning on Saturday and they bussed straight to Euless Trinity High School to practice before heading to the team hotel. Ohio State (11-2, 8-1 Big Ten), No. 5 in the CFP rankings, is preparing to face the No. 8 USC Trojans (11-2, 8-1 Pac-12).

Head Coach Urban Meyer spoke with the media before taking the field and said he’s glad to be back in the Classic.

“Well, first of all, thanks to the Cotton Bowl folks for having us,” Meyer said. “I was here in 1987, I believe, and then, once again, a couple years ago. And it turned out pretty good both times. So anxious to be here. Love the city of Dallas. I can’t imagine two better tradition-rich programs facing each other. It will be great for college football. I imagine the fans will really enjoy watching this. And we’re going to do our best to put on a great event for Ohio State and USC, two great conferences, the Big Ten and the Pac-12.”

Meyer gave the team time off to go to their homes on Tuesday, so the primary purpose of Saturday’s practice was to knock off the rust of inactivity. The Buckeyes practiced without pads for 75 minutes on a sunny 50-degree North Texas day, pleasant conditions compared what they left back home. Rain, wind and a 35-degree weather marked their departure.

The travel party flew on Buckeye 1 (athletic department staff, trainers, families and others) and Buckeye 2 (coaches and players). A few players from far-away home states such as California were allowed to travel individually. Texas players drove in. Each of the 102 players on the bowl roster arrived without major issues.

When the season started, they’d hoped this week would be their first step in the playoffs. They didn’t reach that goal but still have plenty of reasons to be motivated.

“I would say … we have a lot of seniors in this class that’s kind of embedded our lives to this program,” DT Tracy Sprinkle said. “And I know the only way we want to go out is with a win for the university and for the class, for us to be remembered.

“And we went out there to win a Big Ten championship. And, obviously, things didn’t go our way. So we know that we have a big team, USC, waiting on the other side who really doesn’t care about that. So we know we’ve got to be prepared and go out there and give it our all in order to bring this university another win.”

The focus isn’t entirely on football this week. The players had a couple of hours of free time at the hotel and then went to the Dallas Cowboys Comedy Jam at Ford Stadium in Frisco. Other activities are planned throughout the week.

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic celebrates its 82nd anniversary on Friday, Dec. 29. Airtime on ESPN is set for 7:30 p.m. CST, with kickoff slated for 7:40 p.m.

This marks the fourth consecutive year for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl to be a part of the ESPN bowl lineup. Bob Wischusen and Brock Huard are set to provide the call from the booth with Allison Williams reporting from the sidelines.

ESPN Radio returns as the Classic's national radio partner for the sixth consecutive year. Brad Sham, the "Voice of the Dallas Cowboys," teams with Rod Gilmore in the booth and Quint Kessenich on the sidelines to describe all the action from AT&T Stadium. This is Sham's 21st consecutive year as the Classic's play-by-play voice and his 25th overall.

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