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Ohio State does not have Clemson’s playoff experience, but has been battle-tested

The Buckeyes bring with them plenty of experience in big games

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 07 Big Ten Championship Game Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“Including specialists, 14 players on Clemson’s two-deep have started at least one CFP game. That includes four-fifths of the starting offensive line, quarterback Trevor Lawrence and two of his top receivers and three-fourths of the starting secondary.”

- Nathan Baird,

It is no secret that the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes will be facing their toughest test of the season when they take on the No. 3 Clemson Tigers in the first round of this year’s College Football Playoff. Despite head coach Dabo Swinney’s best efforts to concoct the narrative that nobody respects his team, Clemson clearly has of the most talented rosters in the country. On top of the just the impressive skillset of the players, they also bring with them valuable playoff experience as the Tigers are competing in their fifth-straight CFP semifinal game as a program.

Ryan Day and his team can not match that exposure to an extent, but that does not mean they are foreign to the concept of playing in big games. While Ohio State hasn’t made the CFP since 2016, this Buckeye roster includes seven current starters who took part in that game. In addition, this current group has helped OSU win three-straight Big Ten Championship games, the 2017 Cotton Bowl against USC, and the 2018 Rose Bowl against Washington. The biggest factor, however, that could help them prepare for this game is how this season’s schedule was laid out.

Ohio State faced a gauntlet at the end of the regular season. After knocking off a then-No. 8 Penn State team at home, the Buckeyes went on the road and blasted No. 13 Michigan in a rivalry game before defeating No. 8 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship — a team they were facing for the second time in the same year, having also beat them when they were ranked No. 13 the first time around. Clemson, by comparison, played almost nobody of note, almost losing to UNC earlier in the year and whose most impressive wins are a Texas A&M team that finished 7-5 and a 9-4 Virginia team the barely cracked the Top 25 to end the season.

Clemson’s poor schedule is not their fault, and it does not take away from the fact that they have one of the most talented rosters in college football with the added bonus of a ton of postseason experience. The Tigers have opened up as two-point favorites according to Vegas, and as the defending national champs that beat every team by 30-plus following the close call against the Tar Heels, that does make a bit of sense. However, just because this Ohio State team has not been in this exact scenario before does not mean they will not be ready when the time comes.

Buckeye fans may be a little worried given the team’s past experience against Clemson, but the past is in the past, and this game is set up to be an awesome battle between two of the sport’s best.

Ohio State sports are firing on all cylinders lately, and that didn’t stop at the women’s basketball team. Following an incredibly impressive win over previously unbeaten No. 2 Louisville, Buckeye guard Kierstan Bell was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week.

Against the Cardinals on Friday, Bell poured in 14 points while grabbing six rebounds and making all five of her attempts at the free throw line. She and Dorka Juhasz, who scored a team-high 15 points, helped lead Ohio State to its 13th win all-time against a top-five opponent — a win that clinched this year’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge in favor of the B1G. Bell followed up her impressive effort with a 15-point, 6-of-7 shooting performance in a big win over Radford on Sunday.

Bell, a Canton, Ohio native, is second on the team in scoring this season, averaging 11 points per game, while also leading the Buckeyes with 18 steals on the year. Juhasz was named to the weekly Honor Roll as well, averaging 18 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while shooting over 72 percent from the floor last week.

The lady Bucks are now 5-3 on the year, and will return to action this Sunday — following a week off for final exams — when they hit the road to take on No. 1 Stanford.

It has been a tough rookie season in the NFL for Buckeye standout Parris Campbell, and it will come to an unfortunate end as the Indianapolis Colts have placed the wideout on season-ending IR. Campbell broke his foot at the start of the team’s game this past Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but was able to play through it and finished the game before learning of his fate.

It was a brutal year for the rookie in terms of injuries, never getting to showcase his impressive skillset to the fullest. After battling a hamstring injury in preseason camp, Campbell suffered an abdominal injury and later a broken hand earlier in the season. He would return to action, only for the broken foot to finally end his year.

Campbell played in just seven games for the Colts this season, catching 18 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. Ohio State fans know what the wide receiver is capable of when healthy, able to outrun almost anyone on the football field once the ball is in his hands. Hopefully Campbell is able to have a quick and easy recovery, looking to bounce back in a much more productive and healthy year two in Indianapolis.

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