Ohio State didn’t win the Big Ten this year. They didn’t even win the Big Ten East outright, as Penn State won the right to go to the conference championship game, and then won the whole dang thing. But thanks to a stellar regular season, Buckeye fans were confident they’d find a way to make the College Football Playoff anyway. And today, they were proven right.
Ohio State was selected as one of the top 3 seeds in the College Football Playoff, and will face Clemson in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. Alabama will face off the other playoff bid winner, Washington, in the Chick fil-A Peach Bowl, in Atlanta.
This makes the Buckeyes the first team ever to make the College Football Playoff without winning a conference title. Thanks to road wins over Oklahoma and Wisconsin, and a home win against Michigan, it would have been nearly impossible to argue Ohio State’s resume was insufficient. And now they’re back in the Playoff for the second time in three years.
The Buckeyes are 0-2 all-time against Clemson, and the Tigers are one of the very few teams that can say they’ve beaten the Buckeyes in the Urban Meyer era. Ohio State lost in the 2013 Orange Bowl 40-35, and also in the 1978 Gator Bowl, 17-15. You might remember that game as the one where Woody punched Clemson player Charlie Bauman, leading to his firing. So there’s a bit of history between these two teams.
We’ll have much more on the Tigers soon, but for now, the Buckeyes have achieved one of their major goals of the season, and have a path, albeit a very difficult one, to win another national title.
The Fiesta Bowl will be played on December 31, 2016 at either 3:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. ET in Glendale, AZ. While that’s New Years Eve, good news: it’s a Saturday this year. And if you’re reading this anywhere in the Buckeye State, even if the Fiesta Bowl winds up being the late game, it’s a pretty sure bet it’ll be on at whatever party you’re at.