Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
After being embarrassed in the last two BCS national title games, Ohio State gets a chance to repair its national reputation against a Texas team many feel should be heading to Miami rather than the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Until a surprising blowout loss to Florida in the 2007 BCS title game, Arizona had been very good to the Buckeyes, who won Fiesta Bowls in 2006, 2004 and 2003. To regain that desert dominance, Ohio State will need to play its best game in all three facets.
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy has been virtually unstoppable this season, and an Ohio State defense that performed well following the USC debacle Sept. 13 must find a way to slow him down.
A secondary led by Malcolm Jenkins, arguably the nation's best cornerback, needs to limit short passes and force McCoy to take risks down the field. This is also a tremendous opportunity for Buckeyes senior linebacker James Laurinaitis, who could use a big-game performance in the national spotlight to solidify his legacy.
The run game has been Ohio State's calling card on offense, but quarterback Terrelle Pryor and running back Chris "Beanie" Wells will be challenged by a Texas squad ranked second nationally in rush defense (73.6 ypg). Despite a strong November, Ohio State's offense can be over-reliant on big plays and needs to find ways to sustain drives.