In order for the Ohio State football team to squeak into the College Football Playoff top four, the Buckeyes needed bedlam to break out during the conference championship games on Saturday.
It didn’t happen, meaning the chance for back-to-back titles has now evaporated for the Scarlet and Gray.
The consolation prize for No. 7 OSU ends up being a New Year’s Six game, as on Sunday it was awarded a berth to the Fiesta Bowl against No. 8 Notre Dame (10-2).
It will be a rematch of the game in 2006 when then-No. 4 OSU squared off against then-No. 5 Notre Dame in the same bowl. The Buckeyes grabbed the 34-20 win.
There was a lot of discussion about OSU going to the Rose Bowl, but despite losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game, Iowa remained ahead of the Buckeyes in the rankings to earn the trip to Pasadena, California.
“We really thought Iowa proved more in that loss than maybe they did throughout the rest of their schedule,” College Football Playoff Committee chairman Jeff Long said on ESPN. “Holding them No. 5 was a strong sentiment of the committee.”
It will be the first time since 2009 that OSU will play in the Fiesta Bowl. In that game, the Buckeyes lost 24-21 to Texas. Since the Fiesta Bowl’s inception in 1971, OSU has played in it five times.
Notre Dame comes into the game with two losses by a combined four points. The Fighting Irish’s first loss came by way of No. 1 Clemson, 24-22, on Oct. 3. The second came on Nov. 28 courtesy of now-No. 6 Stanford, 38-36. Their offense ranks 25th nationally, whereas the defense comes in 38th overall.
The game is set to kick off at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day in Glendale, Arizona, at the University of Phoenix Stadium.