Monday, December 08, 2008
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Fiesta pairs No. 3 Texas against No. 10 Ohio State

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[December 08, 2008]  PHOENIX (AP) -- In a matchup of tradition-laden programs, the Fiesta Bowl will pair Texas against Ohio State on Jan. 5. The Fiesta had to replace Big 12 champion Oklahoma, which will play in the Bowl Championship Series title game. It picked up third-ranked Texas and then selected the 10th-ranked, twice-beaten Buckeyes on Sunday.

HardwareThe Longhorns (11-1) finished in a three-way tie atop the rugged Big 12 South and thought their 10-point victory over Oklahoma should have earned them the nod over the Sooners. But Oklahoma was declared the division winner on a BCS standings tiebreaker, and the Sooners ripped Missouri in the Big 12 title game to earn a trip to Miami for the national title game.

Instead of playing for their second national title in four seasons, the Longhorns will have to make do with a date in Glendale, Ariz., with Ohio State. Texas has played in one Fiesta Bowl, losing to Penn State 38-15 after the 1996 season.

The Buckeyes are making their fourth straight BCS appearance and seventh overall, tied with Oklahoma and USC for the most. The Buckeyes are 4-2 in BCS bowls but have been outclassed in each of the last two national championship games, losing to Southeastern Conference powers Florida and Louisiana State.

The Buckeyes (10-2) have come a long way since a 35-3 whipping at Rose Bowl-bound Southern California on Sept. 13. After installing freshman Terrelle Pryor at quarterback, Ohio State finished 8-1, with the lone loss coming by a touchdown against Penn State, which is headed for the Rose Bowl.

It's Ohio State's sixth trip to the Fiesta Bowl and the fourth since 2003.

[Associated Press; By ANDREW BAGNATO]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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