NEW ORLEANS — For the third time since the advent of the College Football Playoff in 2015 the Ohio State Buckeyes will face the Clemson Tigers in a semifinal bowl.
The newfound postseason rivalry between Big Ten and ACC foes has been one-sided though, with Clemson coming up with two victories in the previous matchups. Last year in the Fiesta Bowl Clemson held off the Buckeyes 29-23. The other CFB bowl, the Fiesta Bowl in 2016, was less competitive with Clemson defeating Ohio State 31-0 en route to the Tigers’ second of three national championships.
OSU head coach Ryan Day told ESPN the loss to Clemson last year lingered for his team and they are happy for a chance to avenge it.
Ohio State arrives in the Sugar Bowl with a 6-0 record and was selected by the playoff committee despite playing fewer games including three cancelled by COVID-19 outbreaks.
While the Buckeyes’ selection into the semifinals was deemed as controversial by fans and analysists, selection committee chair Gary Barta said “there was no dissension in the room” over putting Ohio State in, The Associated Press reported.
Barta added Ohio State was selected due to their two wins over ranked opponents, Indiana and Northwestern, and the Buckeyes winning the Big Ten Championship over the Wildcats.
Clemson comes into Friday’s matchup 10-1 on the season, suffering their only loss to fellow CFB semifinalist Notre Dame in South Bend Nov. 7. Clemson defeated the Fighting Irish in the ACC Championship Game 34-10 Dec. 19.
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN:
Kickoff from the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans is set for 8 p.m. Friday and will air on ESPN. The game will also air on Ohio State’s radio network.
The Sugar Bowl will follow the first CFB semifinal, the Rose Bowl Game, between Alabama and Notre Dame, which kicks-off at 4 p.m. The Rose Bowl was moved from Pasadena, California to Arlington, Texas due to local COVID-19 restrictions in California.