SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Of the four teams in the College Football Playoff this year, no team is as experienced as No. 3 Clemson. The Tigers, who will play No. 2 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, are making their fifth straight CFP appearance.
To put that into perspective. All-American safety Tanner Muse and All-ACC right guard Gage Cervenka, who both redshirted in 2015, are a part of all five playoff teams. Saturday’s 8 p.m. ET., kick will be Clemson’s third time playing at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. They played in the 2016 CFP National Championship Game and in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl.
“I think that certainly experience is a great teacher, but it’s a new team,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “Like I said, I’ve got very few that have been out here. We don’t have a big senior class. And that’s the only group that’s been here. Most of these guys, it’s a new experience for them.
“But we have been in a lot of big games. All of our true juniors and true sophomores have played in big games.”
A lot of those true juniors and true seniors played in last year’s CFP, and guys like Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross, Xavier Thomas, Justin Foster and A.J. Terrell all played and made plays in last year’s national championship.
As they head into Saturday’s game, they are all a year wiser and smarter.
“As Tremayne [Anchrum] said, we really treat every game as a big game. I mean, we really do. I think that’s why we’ve been so consistent, is we try to put our best foot forward and we try to play Clemson every week,” Swinney said.
The Tigers are 5-2 in their seven CFP games, including two wins in the national championship. They are the defending national champions and won last year’s playoff games by 27 points against Notre Dame and 28 points against Alabama.
“It’s exciting. This is a little different in that obviously you’re away and it’s a bowl site and different logistics and things like that,” Swinney said. “So, our experience hopefully will help us just kind of navigate that. But at the end of the day, man, we got a routine that we believe in and we’ll stick to it but at the same time, also, enjoy the week and participating in all the things that are available to us.”
Clemson is back in the College Football Playoffs once again. Get the latest official Clemson CFP gear right here!