The debate we had last year about who should Ohio State play, should it be Michigan or should it be Florida, is at the root of this. A lot of people wanted Michigan. A lot of people wanted Florida. Florida goes in and they dismantled Ohio State. … Because we had that debate, because Florida got in and dominated Ohio State, and because USC dominated Michigan [in the Rose Bowl], it’s really had an effect where people are like, ‘Oh, no, not again. Do we have to have that slow team from the Big Ten in the mix again? They already had their chance. Get them out of here.’
In my opinion, Ohio State could do more about [improving] the image people have of its program by playing a talented USC team that right now is as hot as any in the country … I promise you, if Ohio State goes into the Rose Bowl, everyone is going to be saying, ‘USC is going to kill Ohio State.’ … Ohio State will gain more respect if it plays USC in the Rose Bowl and wins that game, than if it goes and beats West Virginia and wins the national title. From an image standpoint, Ohio State would score more points going to the Rose Bowl than by going to the national championship game. If you can believe that, that’s the truth.