January 1 will mark the 10-year anniversary of perhaps the single greatest college football game ever played. The 2007 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium featured the Boise State Broncos, the Oklahoma Sooners and a finish that was more dramatic than anything a Hollywood writer could ever conceive of.
Background of the Teams
Because of the fact that Week 17 of the NFL regular season falls on Sunday, January 1 all ballgames that would normally take place on New Year’s Day will take place on Monday the 2nd, including this year’s Fiesta Bowl. It doubles as the first round of this season’s College Football Playoff, and it is going to be an amazing game.
The Ohio State Buckeyes eked their way into the final group before by way of an overtime victory against the Michigan Wolverines, who finished the season ranked #5. Ohio State is #3, and they are a well-oiled and well-coached squad expecting to leave the warm climate of Arizona with a victory.
Ohio State’s only loss this season came at the hands of Penn State, a squad that has been absolutely red-hot since early-October. As they have all year, Ohio State will lean heavily on their highly-ranked rushing attack. The Buckeyes have gained well over 250 yards on the ground per game heading into their 13th game of the season. If they are able to tote the rock for more than 250 against Clemson, all signs indicate that there will be a 14th game.
Folks familiar with college football know that the Clemson Tigers are also a very talented squad, and they are truly battle tested. Superstar quarterback Desaun Watson is definitely going to be one of the first few quarterbacks taken in 2017 NFL Draft. Watson led the Tigers to an amazing season in 2015, falling just a few points short to last year’s champion Alabama Crimson Tide in a high-scoring game in which he showed off the many weapons in his bag of tricks.
Clemson has also sustained just one loss this year, and it was a devastating 43-42 fall at the hands of the always dangerous Pittsburgh Panthers. To the surprise of few, Clemson bashed their way through much of their schedule after anteing many chips to the center of the table with a road game at Auburn to begin the season.
They had close games at home against Louisville and on the road at Florida State. They cruised to victory against Boston College, Syracuse and South Carolina. Simply put, the Tigers learned how to win about every type of football game throughout the course of their 13-game season.
It culminated with a 42-35 victory against the highly game Virginia Tech Hokies in the ACC Championship Game. Clemson is a very well-balanced squad strong in all facets of the game, especially tossing the ball to their stud receivers and defending against both the rush and pass. The Tigers defense is giving up just a hair over 125 yards per game on the ground, which is substantially less than half of what the Buckeyes are accustomed to taking. When those two forces collide, something has to give. Prediction: Ohio State 30 Clemson 34.
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