It seems like just yesterday that Ohio State was kicking off its season against Florida Atlantic, and yet, the College Football Playoff is now upon us as we close out 2019.
The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes and No. 3 Clemson Tigers are a combined 26-0 on the year, each team cruising to its respective conference title en route to the playoff. Dabo Swinney and the Tigers are looking for their third championship in four years, while Ryan Day and Ohio State attempt to usurp the reigning champs for the Buckeyes’ first title since the 2014 season. And of course, the Buckeyes are awaiting their chance to avenge the 31-0 loss to Clemson in 2016 which, to this day, still stings.
Ohio State has been building to this moment. The Buckeyes enter the game with the top-ranked scoring offense which has put up 48.7 points per game. Day’s team also boasts the No. 3 scoring defense in the country, giving up a mere 12.5 points per game. However, there’s a reason Clemson is ranked in the top-four nationally: The Tigers have the nation’s top scoring defense, allowing just 10.6 points per game.
Some might argue that Clemson is still an unknown entity at this point, given a poor strength of schedule and near-loss to North Carolina earlier this season. However, the Tigers bring back several of the key players from last year’s championship team -- including quarterback Trevor Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne and wide receiver Teen Higgins -- which should be a clear indication of just how strong Swinney’s team remains this season.
Ohio State is no slouch either, however. Quarterback Justin Fields and defensive end Chase Young were both Heisman finalists, and running back J.K. Dobbins is close to breaking Eddie George’s single-season rushing record.
The Buckeyes are two-point favorites over Clemson, but they’ll need to overcome a historical bias that’s working against them: The fact Ohio State is 0-3 all-time versus the Tigers. Regardless, Ohio State looks to secure its spot in the CFP championship game against the reigning playoff champs.
When is the game and how can I watch?
Game Date/Time: Saturday, Dec. 27, 8 p.m.
Location: Glendale, Arizona
Radio: 97.1 FM/1460 AM
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Below is your Ohio State - Clemson CFP Semi-final GameThread. Be respectful, be kind and as always, keep it classy. If you like GIFs, lay ‘em on us. In all, be good fans, cheer for your teams, be cool to each other (even if somebody else isn’t) and everyone wins. Let’s win this title!