Goodyear cotton Bowl: Missouri v Ohio State

By George Somerville

Bowl Season continues! 84 teams, 42 matchups, 35 different cities; if you thought the College Football postseason was restricted to the four teams in the playoffs, think again. In this game preview, we turn our attention to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl

Where and When

Goodyear Cotton Bowl

Location: AT&T stadium, Arlington, Tx

Date: 29th December 2023

Time: 8:00pm (ET)

Story so far…

Image credit: Jeff Roberson/ Associated Press

This will be the 88th Cotton Bowl game to be played in the Bowl’s history and the 12th time that Ohio State has played Missouri.

Missouri were undoubtedly the surprise team in the SEC this season. Few outside of Columbia, MO thought that a 10-2 season for Eli Drinkwitz’s team was possible. The two defeats were to Georgia and LSU – a game which the Mizzou Tigers could and should have won. The match up against Ohio State is an intriguing one and a real test of just how far this Tigers team has come this year.

It’s been another frustrating year for the Buckeyes who have grander aspirations than playing in the Cotton Bowl. Not for the first time, head coach Ryan Day finds himself under real pressure. A third successive defeat to Michigan denied the Buckeyes a CFB Playoff spot, angering Ohio State fans in the process. In many ways this year’s Cotton Bowl is a must win game for Ryan Day and the Buckeyes.

The Quarterbacks…

Image Credit: Michael Woods/ Associated Press

At the start of the season, Missouri fans booed quarterback, Brady Cook – such was the feeling that Cook should not be leading this team. Whether that criticism propelled Cook to prove his doubters wrong, we would need to ask him. But his form this season has been phenomenal. In the 12 games thus far Cook has thrown for 3,189 yards and 20 touchdowns in the process of leading the Tigers to their highest finish in 10 years.

Whoever plays at quarterback for the Buckeyes in the Cotton Bowl, it won’t be Kyle McCord. In what was undoubtedly the shock end to the season, Ohio State’s 5 star QB announced that he was transferring to Syracuse. It might take the rest of this preview to talk about this move, so best we leave this head scratcher to one side. But who will play under centre for the Buckeyes? 

Devin Brown is currently QB2 in Columbus and the incumbent now that McCord has left. While many commentators debate if the Buckeyes should enter the transfer portal to replace McCord, Brown has an excellent and immediate opportunity to stake his claim. In his Sophomore year Brown has had limited game time this season, completing 12 of 22 passes for 197 yards, two touchdowns and an interception along with 35 rushing yards in the five games that he has played in this season (one start and four other appearances). 

Prospects to watch…

Image Credit : Ohio State University Athletics

The roster for both teams should look like a who’s who of MVP candidates this season. However their respective fortunes could not be more opposite ahead of this Bowl game. Missouri are expected to have all of their stars available while Ohio State have been affected badly by a number of players entering the transfer portal or declaring for the draft.

But let’s start with Mizzou. I am expected to pick 2 players for this section but in all honesty I could pick 6 or more Missouri players.


Cody Schrader, Running Back

What’s not already been said about Cody Schrader this season? After receiving zero DI scholarship offers, Schrader lit up DII football with Truman State before entering the transfer portal and walking on at Missouri. Schrader has had a fairytale season at Mizzou this year rushing for 1,625 and 13 touchdowns. His explosive plays have been instrumental in Mizzou’s spectacular 10-2 season which has taken them to the Cotton Bowl.

Luther Burden III – Wide receiver

As inconceivable as this would have sounded at the start of the season, Missouri could have had two players in the running for a Heisman. Schrader has had a memorable season but so too has Luther Burden III. Up until this point in the season, Burden has 83 catches for 1,197 yards and 8 touchdowns. The Ohio State defense will not relish coming up against Burden and Schrader.

Ohio State

Marvin Harrison Jnr – Wide receiver

While we wait on Harrison deciding where he is going to be playing football next season – Harrison has not yet declared for the NFL – the benefit is that we get to see him play in at least more game in an Ohio State uniform. The term generational talent is often overplayed but is true in the case of Harrison. In two years in Columbus, Ohio, the 6’4″ wideout from Philadelphia has amassed 144 receptions for 2,474 yards and 28 touchdowns. While Harrison has travelled with the Buckeyes to the Cotton Bowl, he is yet to practice. Here’s hoping we get to see him play in scarlet and grey one more time.

Denzel Burke – Cornerback

In his 3 seasons, Denzel Burke has played in 34 games for the Buckeyes making 90 tackles during that time. It would appear that Burke has made his mind up about declaring for the draft saying that he will announce his decision in the new year. But in what has been a challenging season for the Buckeyes, Burke has continued to be a stalwart in the secondary. He will be key if the Buckeyes are to stop Luther Burden III.


Unsurprisingly, Vegas has the Buckeyes as strong favourites for this game. Yet this is a situation that Eli Drinkwitz and his Tigers have found themselves in throughout this season. Mizzou plays the underdog role well.

It makes no sense to choose the Tigers, other than the fact that I have marvelled at just how good this Missouri team has been this year. 

So, mock all you like but I take Missouri to win by a field goal. yes, the Thiccer Kicker , Harrison Mevis to end Missouri’s fairytale season with a walk off (long) field goal.

Missouri 31 – Ohio State 28

Mock Draft

George Somerville