Left out of the title race, Ohio State is instead returning to the stadium where the Buckeyes won the first national championship in the four-team College Football Playoff system.
The Big Ten champion Buckeyes will play in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29 against Pac-12 champion Southern California in a matchup of 11-2 teams that flashes back to past Rose Bowls. This will be the eighth time they play in a bowl but the first time outside of Pasadena, California.
Ohio State, which last year became the first team without winning a conference title to make the playoff, was the first team left out Sunday even after beating previously undefeated Wisconsin 27-21 in the Big Ten title game. Alabama (11-1), which didn't make it to the SEC championship game, was selected instead.