Sunday afternoon head coach Ryan Day still looked to be feeling the effects of a deflating loss to Michigan last Saturday, but he said the Buckeyes would be looking forward to the chance to end their season on a high note.
“We’re excited to play in the game — they will be,” Day said. “And we’ll talk through all that we’ll continue to meet with guys along the way. We’ve already had meetings last week. All really positive. I think guys know they want to have something to show for the season but also have an opportunity to continue to put good games out there, and so those conversations will continue today and tomorrow.”
With their national championship hopes dashed, some players might opt to sit out the bowl game to begin preparing for the NFL Draft.
Others have already made plans to enter the transfer portal, which opens Monday and gives players an opportunity to be re-recruited essentially.
The coaching staff will be looking at players in the portal to try to enhance their roster, too, and trying to finish up recruiting with current high school seniors.
It’s all part of a typically busy December for college football coaches and players.
“Rosters move a lot year in and year out, much more than ever had before,” Day said. “And so we’re certainly busy working on that.”
The Buckeyes practiced once last week and had a team meeting.
Day said he has already met with some players about their futures and more are in the works as NFL Draft decisions are made.
“You know, no one’s gonna feel sorry for us, so you gotta push forward. That’s life,” Day said. “And so we’re gonna do that. There’s always a lot of life lessons, and this is another great one for our guys to learn about how you handle yourself during adversity. You can learn a lot about the guys that are around you. And as a dad, as a husband, as a brother, as a teammate, you have to handle yourself the right way and move forward. Not that it’s easy. We’re not just gonna move on like it’s just another game. It’s not, but the world’s not stopping for us. So we’ve got to keep moving. And so we’re going to do.”
Ohio State is 10-1-1 all time against the Tigers with the last meeting coming in 1998, a 31-14 victory for the top-ranked Buckeyes against the 21st-ranked Tigers.
The series began in 1939 with a 19-0 Ohio State victory, and the Buckeyes were 9-0 against the Tigers until a 22-21 loss in 1976.
The Buckeyes have played in the Cotton Bowl twice, beating Texas A&M 28-12 in 1987 (’86 season) and USC 24-7 in 2017.
The matchup also presents Ohio State with an opportunity to improve on its 2-12 mark against SEC teams in the postseason.
“It’s been a rough week here, and I want to make sure that when we go into the bowl these guys are gonna at least enjoy the fact that they’re gonna be in Dallas and it’s Christmas and those type of things,” said Day who is 2-3 leading the Buckeyes in bowl games, including the College Football Playoff.
“The Cotton Bowl does a great job to make sure that they’re enjoying the experience, too.”
Friday, Dec. 29
Ohio State vs. Missouri, 8 p.m., ESPN, 1410