Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The two teams that meet next week at the L.A. Coliseum have enjoyed tremendous success with dramatically different philosophies.
Ohio State wide receiver Ray Small pointed out some of those differences after Saturday's too-close-for-comfort 26-14 win against Ohio. Small, like several players in the Ohio State-USC game, visited both schools during the recruiting process.
"As I took my visit to USC, I'm like, 'How are they successful? They're not even serious about the game,'" said Small, who caught five passes and had a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown against Ohio. "Before the game, they're all going crazy. Me and [Buckeyes defensive end] Rob Rose was on the visit and I'm looking like, 'Wow.' And then the coach said, 'You better get out of here. It's 'bout to get hectic.'
"And then I come [to Ohio State] on the visit and before the game, it's all quiet, everybody getting taped, coaches talking. It's the total opposite."
Small can't figure out how two divergent programs achieve such similar results. But he knows he made the right choice with the Buckeyes.
"It's more of a class thing," he said. "We took what [former USC quarterback] Carson Palmer said. I don't think somebody from Ohio State would have ever said that remark."
Palmer, the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback, sounded off in July, telling an L.A. radio station how he "cannot stand the Buckeyes and having to live in Ohio and hear those people talk about their team, it drives me absolutely nuts." He later apologized, saying he does respect the Buckeyes.
"Here at Ohio State, they teach you to be a better man," Small said. "There, it's just all about football."