Thursday, December 31, 2015

#Buckeyes Preview 12.31.15: Ohio State v. Notre Dame #FiestaBowl

By @jddisantis

The BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl hit the jackpot when it landed two of college footballs biggest powers for their New Years Day bowl game.  Few schools "move the needle" like #7 Ohio State (11-1) and #8 Notre Dame (10-2) as these two teams should provide an entertaining game along with more first rounders in next years NFL draft than any other game this bowl season.  Both teams are looking to finish their season on a high note with a New Years Six bowl win and momentum heading into recruiting and next season.

While Ohio State will be without both starting defensive tackles, Notre Dame will be getting healthier on the offensive side of the ball for this game.  The Buckeyes will be without Adolphus Washington due to suspension for soliciting a prostitute and will also be missing Tommy Schutt from a broken foot.  For Notre Dame, starting running back C. J. Prosise should finally be healthy since leaving with an ankle injury against Boston College.  Adding Prosise will give the Irish a 1000 yard rusher with dual threat skills out of the backfield.

The matchup most people will be watching (including NFL scouts) will be against Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley and Ohio State defensive end, Joey Bosa.  Bosa will look to create pressure from the blindside of Notre Dame quarterback Deshone Kizer.  That type of pressure is something Kizer hasn't had to deal with much of this season.  Unfortunately with the injuries on the Buckeye defensive line there has been talk about Bosa moving around and lining up at multiple positions so we may not get to see as much of the Stanley/Bosa battle as we originally hoped but we should still get a great matchup to watch.

This game will be the first head-to-head match-up between Notre Dame's Brian Kelly and Ohio State's Urban Meyer.  Kelly is 4-4 in bowl games while Meyer boasts an impressive 9-2 record in college postseason.  This game may provide some strong persuasion when it comes to recruiting between these two teams.  Notre Dame has always done well in Ohio and Brian Kelly's history at the University of Cincinnati has him very familiar with Catholic schools in southern Ohio.  Many recruits will have their eyes on this clash of mid-western powerhouses.

Both teams had national championship hopes in the beginning of the year but stumbled along the way.  Although losses, all three teams that collectively beat Buckeyes and Fighting Irish are also playing in the big New Years Six, two of which (Clemson and Michigan State) have an opportunity to play for a national championship.  Despite the hype surrounding this classic match-up. these two teams aren't playing for anything other than bragging rights, and possibly recruits.  With so many first round draft picks anticipated in this game, hopefully neither team has checked out mentally and is focused at the immediate task at hand.  

What:  BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl
When:  January 1st, 1 PM ET
Where:  University of Pheonix Stadium, Glendale Arizona
Watch:  ESPN

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