By Ed McGranahan.
By Ed McGranahan
While the “official” announcement won’t come until later tonight, Clemson and Ohio State will be paired in the Discover Orange Bowl on January 3.
The game would reprise the matchup of that historic 1978 Gator Bowl game, so let the nostalgia flow.
Clemson fills the ACC slot left by Florida State, the nation’s lone undefeated team. FSU faces SEC champion Auburn in the national championship game, leaving the SEC’s slot in the Sugar Bowl to Alabama.
When Michigan State dashed Ohio State’s title hopes, it made the Buckeyes the next most appealing team in the At-Large Lottery and the Orange Bowl has the first pick.
The Orange Bowl made it clear it would like at least one team that can move tickets — there’s nobody better candidate in the pool than Clemson — as well as a potentially entertaining game for TV. Now, it has perhaps the best of both worlds.
The Sugar Bowl seems poised to take a Big 12 team from the state of Oklahoma to face Alabama, which left No. 12 Oregon as No. 13 Clemson’s chief obstacle. Folks in Oregon can’t imagine why anybody would take Clemson over the Nike’s favorite charity.
This would be Ohio State’s second trip to the Orange Bowl and first since 1977 when it defeated Colorado, 27-10 on New Year’s Day.
And Ohio State fans may be looking for an excuse to get out of town. Even with the disappointment of being missing the title game, the weather in Ohio turned brutal, so the Atlantic beaches and Florida sun should play well in Chillicothe and Akron.