Sure, Clemson isn’t participating in the College Football Playoff for the second straight season, after making six consecutive playoff appearances from 2015-20.
But that doesn’t make the upcoming Orange Bowl any less significant to Dabo Swinney and his Tigers’ football team.
Clemson’s head coach spoke during the Orange Bowl kickoff press conference Wednesday afternoon about why the Orange Bowl is important to his program despite the Tigers not being in the four-team playoff field this season.
“I think postseason’s always important,” Swinney said. “Only four teams get to go to the playoff. There’s 131, I think, Division I teams. So, this is an opportunity to compete at the highest level.”
Clemson (11-2, 9-0 ACC), fresh off its seventh ACC Championship in eight years, will make its seventh all-time Orange Bowl appearance and its first since appearing in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Orange Bowl in 2015.
The seventh-ranked Tigers hope to improve to 5-2 all-time in the Orange Bowl when they face No. 6 Tennessee (10-2, 6-2 SEC) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. on Friday, Dec. 30.
“I mean, this is the Orange Bowl,” said Swinney, who is 2-1 in the Orange Bowl as Clemson’s head coach. “This is one of the greatest traditional bowls in all of college football. So, to have an opportunity to finish your season, to compete at the highest level, for your seniors to be able to showcase themselves one more time against a great opponent, for your young players to have an opportunity to experience this stage – it’s special.”
Under Swinney, Clemson earned an Orange Bowl berth against West Virginia in 2011 after the Tigers won their first ACC championship in 20 years. Clemson then earned Orange Bowl victories during the 2013 and 2015 seasons, including a 40-35 win against Ohio State to end the 2013 season and a 37-17 win against Oklahoma in 2015 to earn the program’s first berth in the College Football Playoff national championship game.
The 2022 Orange Bowl will kick off at 8 p.m. and be televised on ESPN.
“It’s the tradition of college football to be a part of it,” Swinney said of the Orange Bowl, which has been played since 1935. “You get a chance to play one more time, and that’s what we do. We like to play, and so we got one more opportunity to play.”
While the Orange Bowl isn’t a playoff game this year, Swinney sees it like one.
“To me, this is a playoff game,” he said. “In a couple years, it will be a playoff game. Both of these teams have been in the mix for the playoff all year, and both have had great years.”
Dear Old Clemson has a limited number of replica road signs to our store. These have reflective properties just like real road signs. Will Shipley, Tyler Davis and Antonio Williams have signed road signs with their numbers.