Ohio State was left on the outside looking in by the College Football Playoff selection committee on Sunday, but the Buckeyes can't lament being passed over for long.
They have a challenging matchup in arguably one of the best games in the New Year's Six lineup against USC on Dec. 29 in the Cotton Bowl.
The No. 5 Buckeyes (11-2) and No. 8 Trojans (11-2) were both winners of their conference championships games, but with a College Football Playoff semifinal occupying the Rose Bowl this year, the two teams will play the closest thing to a traditional matchup of Big Ten vs. Pac-12 champions at ATT Stadium in Arlington, Texas, instead of Pasadena.
In addition to the two traditional powers meeting for the a FBS record-tying eighth time in a bowl game, the Cotton Bowl will feature two of college football's dynamic quarterbacks with Ohio State's J.T. Barrett and USC's Sam Darnold under center.
Ohio State was nosed out of the four-team playoff by Alabama because it lost two games, including a 55-24 clinker at Iowa that ultimately cost the Buckeyes.
"You have to understand they're not kind of disappointed," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Sunday of his players. "They're probably devastated. But that's one thing families do, how do you handle devastation, get around those you love and let's go back to work.
"We'll be fine. It's going to sting for a while and then get around those you love and care about and move on."
USC's stumbles came on the road at then-No. 13 Notre Dame (49-14) and at then-No. 16 Washington State (30-27), but the Trojans have recovered to win five straight games and its first Pac-12 title since 2008.
Like Ohio State, USC is moving on from the disappointment of being left out of the four-team playoff.
"We can't wait for what will be a classic Pac-12/Big Ten bowl matchup," USC coach Clay Helton said.
Another Big Ten-Pac-12 confrontation on the bowl schedule will come in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 30 between No. 9 Penn State (10-2) and No. 11 Washington (10-2).
In the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30, No. 12 UCF (13-0) will play its final game under Scott Frost, who's headed to Nebraska as its new head coach, against No. 7 Auburn. The Tigers will be trying to shake off the SEC championship game loss to Georgia.
UCF is the highest ranked non-Group of Five team in the CFP's four seasons.
Auburn's coaching situation appears to be more settled now after Gus Malzahn reportedly reached agreement on a new contract, spurning overtures from Arkansas to fill its vacancy.
The other New Year's Six game pairs No. 10 Miami (10-2), which lost its final two games, against No. 6 Wisconsin (12-1), a 27-21 loser to Ohio State in the Big Ten championship on Saturday night.
Notre Dame (9-3) ended up No. 14 in the CFP rankings and has a date with No. 17 LSU (9-3) at the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 in Orlando, Fla.
Three games between ranked teams will be played on Dec. 28. No. 19 Oklahoma State (9-3) faces No. 22 Virginia Tech (9-3) in the Camping World Bowl, No. 13 Stanford (9-4) squares off against TCU (10-3) in the Alamo Bowl and No. 16 Michigan State (9-3) takes on No. 18 Washington State in the Holiday Bowl.