Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Ohio State

SEC comments fire up Buckeyes

NEW ORLEANS -- It is tough to speculate what all shows up in Jim Tressel's e-mail inbox, assuming of course the Ohio State coach gets those tempting offers to share $20 million with some guy in Nigeria, and others to get rich on secret stock trades.

Tressel shared an e-mail with his team recently -- one that derided the Buckeyes for their 0-9 record against the Southeastern Conference in bowl games. No. 6-ranked Ohio State is matched up with No. 8 Arkansas from the SEC in next week's Sugar Bowl to be played at the Louisiana Superdome.

For Ohio State senior linebacker Brian Rolle, the message poured a little gas on his fire.

"Some guy actually sent us something about Ohio State and how bad we are, or whatever," Rolle said.

"It was an e-mail that coach Tressel showed the team. It was something that maybe most people would have shrugged off. But me, I took it personally. That motivates me. I want to let guys know that this bowl game will be a lot different than in the past."

Rolle's senior linebacking mate Ross Homan said the e-mail basically harped on history, and his concerns are with the present Ohio State team.

"Coach Tressel said that's in the past, and this whole year has been about the here and now, so we're just getting ready for the bowl," Homan said. "It definitely gets under your skin sometimes, but it just makes us work that much harder for this game."

Senior defensive tackle Dexter Larimore said Ohio State's struggles against the SEC in bowl games are motivation enough, and that the critical e-mail won't make a difference in the Buckeyes' approach to the game.

"Anytime you have that kind of record, obviously it's going to fire you up. As a competitor, you don't want that to happen," Larimore said. "Obviously it fires you up and gets your juices flowing, but the reality of the situation is that whoever it is, it's going to be a tough game, so we better get prepared for it."

POINT, COUNTERPOINT: The Sugar Bowl could quickly evolve into a scoring derby, if this season's stats mean anything. Ohio State and Arkansas each scored 40 or more points five times this season.

TO THE DAWGS: Ohio State will test its mettle against the SEC after agreeing to a home-and-home series with Georgia for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The Bulldogs beat the Buckeyes 21-14 in their only meeting to date, in the 1993 Citrus Bowl.

The Georgia series continues Ohio State's pattern of playing at least one high profile nonconference opponent each season. The Buckeyes conclude their series with Miami next season, then face California in 2012 and 2013, Virginia Tech in 2014 and 2015, Oklahoma in 2016 and 2017, and Tennessee in 2018 and 2019.

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