DALLAS — Anyone watching the Ohio State offense the past few years, especially this season, knows it no longer is like the good ol’ days when a team hung its hat on one facet of the game — the option, the I formation, run-and-gun, etc. — and sank or swam with it.

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, in his first season at Ohio State, made that point on Tuesday as the Big Ten-champion Buckeyes dived into late preparations for Friday night’s Cotton Bowl clash with Pac-12 champ Southern California.

“To me, when you’re a great college football team, you have to have balance,” Wilson said.

But even “balance” has been redefined.

“Balance is when you have the ability to run or pass, not that you’re 50-50” in terms of balancing the numbers, Wilson said.

The forgettable losses to Oklahoma (31-16) and at Iowa (55-24) aside, he thought the Buckeyes walked the balance beam with a Cirque du Soleil flair.

Led by quarterback J.T. Barrett, the Buckeyes are No. 6 in the nation in total offense (523.6-yard average), No. 15 in rushing (249.4) and No. 28 in passing (274.2). When queried on whether there was one game that best defined the 2017 attack, Wilson gave a shotgun answer.

“There are a couple, and they’re kind of different,” he said. “I thought at Nebraska, the way J.T. executed when we threw the ball, and we still had a good running game, was a strong outing on the road.

“The finish of the Penn State game was an impressive outing,” Wilson added, when Barrett completed his last 16 passes and the Buckeyes wiped out a 15-point deficit to get the 39-38 win.

“And the way we came out against a great Michigan State defense (No. 1 in the country against the rush) and ran the ball (for 335 yards) was unusual, because people don’t do that.”

Looking at the pending matchup with the Trojans, it would make sense statistically to believe the Buckeyes could do run or pass, considering USC is 96th nationally against the pass (246.5) and 55th against the rush (158.3). But Wilson pointed out that USC plays in a conference known for its wide-open offenses, and that, stats to the contrary, the Trojans have an athletically talented defense.

“It’s in some ways like the Big 12 Conference, where there is so much offensive skill that sometimes stats can get skewed,” Wilson said. He added that “in the West Coast style of football, the ball is in the air more, and it spreads the ball out more, and sometimes that maybe opens up the game … and it can skew those stats.”

But that would seem to play into Ohio State’s shish kebab approach.

“Each game can be so different because teams try to attack you in different ways on defense,” Barrett said. “Being an offense, you have to be able to adjust. That’s why you don’t just get one consistent thing. If you do, it’s almost like you limit yourself.

“To say one thing is who we are this past year, I don’t know. But I do know as Ohio State, when you run the ball, the power run, it sets up the pass. That’s what you do.”