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Scarlet Sunrise: Ohio State embracing rare underdog opportunity

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Ohio State arrived in Arizona as an underdog against Clemson. (Darryl Webb/Imagn)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: Ohio State embracing rare underdog opportunity

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise. Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Ohio State embracing rare underdog opportunity

The Buckeyes opened as a slight favorite in the Fiesta Bowl.

That changed quickly. The line flipped shortly after it was released, and Clemson has remained a favorite since the day the line was formed. Ohio State doesn’t care, but the idea of being an underdog is one the Buckeyes welcome, and it’s a card they don’t get to play very often.

It just shows the challenge Ohio State faces against the Tigers, especially the one coach Ryan Day and the offense face against the Tigers defense.

“Historically over the last decade or more, Venables has been one of the best defensive coordinators in the country,” Day said. “They continue to do really good on defense. A lot of good players, a lot of good talent over there. The back end is as good as we’ll see. They have a lot of skill.”

The Fiesta Bowl has a chance to be an instant classic. Ohio State will enter that as a small underdog, a spot the Buckeyes welcome as a rare opportunity.

Kirk Herbstreit breaks down Fiesta Bowl with Tim May

Former Ohio State quarterback and current ESPN lead college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit joined the Tim May Podcast to preview the Fiesta Bowl showdown between the Buckeyes and Clemson. Herbstreit and May broke down the critical matchups to watch, the chess match between Brent Venables’ defense and Ryan Day’s offense and much more. Check out the latest episode of the Tim May Podcast to find out what Herbstreit thinks about the game of the year.

J.C. Latham joins Birminology

J.C. Latham is from Wisconsin, a state known for its offensive line play. But the superstar lineman now attends IMG Academy in Florida, and the home-state Badgers don’t seem to have an edge to earn a pledge from Latham.

He’s a rising star, and he’s a guy Ohio State fans should get to know in the next year. He is a major priority for Ryan Day, Greg Studrawa and the Ohio State offense coaching staff. His pledge could be huge for the Buckeyes 2021 recruiting class.

How did Wisconsin recruit J.C. Latham? What has the time he’s spent at the IMG Academy done for him as a student and as a football player? Where does his recruitment go from here? Latham answers these things and more with Birm in this week’s edition of Birminology on Lettermen Row.

Ohio State basketball rises in AP Poll

Ohio State picked up a third top-10 win of the season Saturday when the Buckeyes outlasted Kentucky in Las Vegas.

The pollsters are noticing how dominant they have been, and that’s why the Buckeyes find themselves at No. 2 in the latest AP Poll, which was released Monday afternoon.

With wins over Villanova, North Carolina and Kentucky, Ohio State is taking down some major blue-blood programs this season. Now, the key will be to remain consistent and not have a January drop-off like it had last season. That’s easier said than done, especially now that they are all the way up to No. 2 in the polls.

AP Poll (Dec. 23)

No. 1 Gonzaga

No. 2 Ohio State

No. 3 Louisville

No. 4 Duke

No. 5 Kansas

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Spencer Holbrook

Spencer Holbrook covers Ohio State football and basketball for Lettermen Row. A recent graduate of Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism, he's in his first year covering the Buckeyes. He was previously the sports editor at Ohio's student newspaper, The Post, where he covered Ohio University football and men's basketball.

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