Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said last week that Ohio State shouldn't even be ranked in the top t0 and rather should be ranked No. 11 overall. He then doubled down just earlier in the week on that sentiment. Swinney has been very outspoken this year and at one point he criticized the NCAA for their COVID-19 protocols right before they played Florida State. So it should be no surprise that he is stirring up more controversy before this game. It doesn't seem to matter though because they just keep winning. Ohio State probably doesn't care much either and if anything they could use it as motivation in a rematch of last year's College Football Semifinal.
What TV Channel is the Allstate Sugar Bowl between #2 Clemson and #3 Ohio State on?
The Sugar Bowl will be shown on ESPN at 8:00 p.m. ET. You can live stream NCAA Football Games on fuboTV.
How to Watch #2 Clemson vs. #3 Ohio State
When: Friday, January 1
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch College Football free with fuboTV
To be fair, it is difficult to compare a 6-0 Buckeyes team to a 10-1 Tigers team. On paper, Clemson should win in a blowout in this one. Ohio State hasn't had nearly the experience or been through the same level of difficulty in matchups as Clemson. They struggled against a good Indiana team where Justin Fields threw three picks effectively ending his Heisman consideration. Before that though, Fields only threw 11 inclompetions, which was the same amount of touchdowns he had thrown up to that point without any interceptions.
Again though he struggled in the Big-10 Championship game against Northwestern where he threw two interceptions in a game where Ohio State was heavily favored. To be fair, Northwestern has an elite defense but if they are going to get revenge on Clemson, they can't stumble against the Wildcats. If Fields plays mistake free, Ohio State has a shot no matter how many games they've played this season.
This CFP Semifinal may be more important for Fields than it is for Trevor Lawrence. The Clemson QB is going number one overall in next year's draft no matter what happens this college football postseason. For Fields, ever since the conference championship, his stock has seemed to slip. For most of the year, he has been the consensus number-two QB all year. Now several drafts have him going as the third QB behind Lawrence and BYU QB Zach Wilson which could drop Fields way down in the draft. If he has an outstanding postseason, it could completely change that narrative.
Since the New York Jets put a couple of wins together, they no longer have the rights to the first overall pick. A shot at Lawrence was the only chance they were moving on from QB Sam Darnold whom they drafted in 2018. Now the Jacksonville Jaguars will absolutely scoop up Lawrence and the Jets will probably draft an offensive lineman no matter how they move in the draft. That leaves the Atlanta Falcons with the sixth pick who need to start thinking about the next era after Matt Ryan. They might be leaning toward Wilson who has a much more pocket-passing style similar to the play of Ryan. Wilson doesn't have to start right away behind the likely future hall of famer and has time to develop.
Fields should still go in the top ten no matter what though and could be an option for the Carolina Panthers or Denver Broncos. Both QB situations for the Super Bowl 50 contenders are a long way off from 2015 when those teams had Cam Newton and Peyton Manning respectively.
As for this game, it was extremely tight last year in a back and forth game that Clemson eventually won 29-23. Ohio State was winning until Lawrence threw for the go-ahead touchdown with less than two minutes to play. Fields led a tremendous drive all the way down to the Clemson 23-yard line with a chance to tie in this instant classic before throwing an interception. If Fields can reverse that turnover script, it may lead to much more than just the Buckeyes making their first National Championship since the 2014.
Clemson-Ohio State Betting Odds
Clemson Odds: -7.5
Ohio State Odds: +7.5
Money Line: Clemson -300 - Ohio State +240