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Moving On: What the Cotton Bowl Means to Ohio State's Season.

The Ohio State Buckeyes goals fell short again of their goals that were set at the beginning of the year and the goals that never change. For the last three seasons they have not beaten "that team up north", nor have they won a Big Ten Championship. Although last season, the Buckeyes were able to get blessed just enough to make the College Football Playoff and in all likelihood, was a field goal away from winning the national title. Now Ohio State finds itself again playing for a New Year's Six Bowl, without a win against "the team up north" and/or a Big Ten Championship. When it is all said and done, the 2021 recruiting class seems to be taking this to heart and wants to finish this season on the right note. What does this mean?

The 2021 recruiting class that Ohio State brought to Columbus was one of the highest-rated recruiting classes the Buckeyes have produced under Ryan Day. Based on the 247 Rankings composite the Buckeyes were ranked number two in the country with this class and this class had produced seven, five-star recruits. With one of those recruits being Quinn Ewers (now with Texas), this class was supposed to be the class to take the Buckeyes to the promised land. The majority of this class has played for the last three seasons including JTT, Jack Sawyer, Trevyon Henderson, Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr, Tyliek Williams, Michael Hall, Denzel Burke, Donavan Jackson, and Jordan Hancock. Looking at this list, I would honestly say that there is not one name on this list that will not be playing on Sundays which holds even more meaning than what these guys choose to do after the Cotton Bowl.

With the majority of the players stating yesterday in their post-practice interviews that they would indeed be playing in the Cotton Bowl, Ohio State now has fans excited to see the future at QB with Devin Brown starting with Kyle McCord entering the portal and the Buckeyes returning starters for the Cotton Bowl. The only players we have yet to hear from about their status are JTT, Marvin Harrison, Trevyon Henderson, and Michael Hall from the 2021 class, and other starters including Cade Stover, Josh Proctor, Tommy Echinberg, and Steele Chambers. With the majority stating they are playing this game, this goes to show the excitement they have to play with Devin Brown and that they want to end this season with momentum going into next season. Jack Sawyer stated "that it's not meaningless and it's bullshit" that people think that it is a meaningless game.

If I am a reader of the room, I think a lot of the 2021 class will elect to return next season including guys like Jack Sawyer, Emeka Egbuka, Denzel Burke, Jordan Hancock, Donavan Jackson, and Trevyon Henderson. The up-in-the-air status of guys like JTT, Michael Hall, Tyliek Williams, and Marvin Harrison would be they are going to choose the NFL draft and who could blame them? Maybe JTT, Tyliek, and Mike Hall choose to return to right the wrongs of the last three seasons and just for the love of Ohio State which I do believe is a great chance because these are high-character athletes who have a lot of pride in Ohio State and know what it means to be a Buckeye. Mike Hall is a born and raised Ohio kid, Tyliek loves his position coach Larry Johnson, and JTT came from Washington State intending to win a National title at Ohio State and to beat "the team up north." We have heard Marvin Harrison speak on how hard it would be for him to leave Ohio State without beating "the team up north" and not winning a Big Ten title so there is always a door open there as well. Cody Simon who was not a part of this class but a big-time player for the Buckeye's defense the last two seasons elected to return for his extra year of eligibility because of the bad taste left in his mouth of not beating the Wolverines and winning a Big Ten title.

At the end of the day, it is encouraging as an Ohio State fan to see that most of the roster that is not entering the portal elect to play in this game and play with pride for the state of Ohio. In a world of NIL, draft status, and the transfer portal, the tradition of Ohio State still means a lot and Ryan Day still has his team wanting to play for something even after a letdown at the end of the year. This goes to show no matter what is said about Coach Day and his team, his team respects him & his staff and wants to win for them. Is the Cotton Bowl what we wanted as fans? No not at all. Is the Cotton Bowl what the players and staff wanted? Absolutely not but here we are almost a month after the season and we have yet to only have one player announce they are leaving for the NFL draft in Miyan Williams who elected to return this year to play for a national title and his season was cut short due to injury, who could blame him? I think all this means something and I think here in the next couple of weeks we are going to have some shocking news and big-time names announce they are coming back to right the wrongs of the last three seasons and finish this thing off right.


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