A 10-2 season for Tennessee will end with a trip to Miami to play in the Orange Bowl. The Volunteers, who moved to No 6 in the final College Football Playoff rankings, will take on the ACC Champion Clemson Tigers on December 30th at 8 p.m. ET.
Alabama took the No. 5 spot in the final rankings, despite Tennessee’s head to head win over the Crimson Tide back in October. Nick Saban’s team will get the nod to head to the Sugar Bowl, set to face Kansas State.
The New Year’s Six is set:— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) December 4, 2022
Fiesta (semi): TCU vs. Michigan
Peach (semi): Ohio State vs. Georgia
Rose: Utah vs. Penn State
Cotton Bowl: Tulane vs. USC
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Tennessee
Sugar Bowl: Kansas State vs. Alabama
Tennessee hasn’t been to the Orange Bowl since the 1997 season, where they lost to Nebraska, 42-17. Other appearances include the 1967, 1946 and 1937 seasons.
The Volunteers last met the Tigers in the 2004 Peach Bowl, where Clemson won 27-14. You have to go all the way back to 1976 to find the previous meeting. In total, the two schools have met just 18 times, with the majority of those matchups coming before 1920.
Both Tennessee and Clemson were in the thick of the College Football Playoff hunt down the stretch, but ironically, both programs saw South Carolina end their championship hopes in back to back weeks.
Clemson, who moved up to No. 7 in the final playoff rankings, turned to backup quarterback Cade Klubnik on Saturday night during the ACC title game. Dabo Swinney benched D.J. Uiagalelei early on, and the Tigers were a completely different team from there. Klubnik finished 20-24 for 279 yards and a touchdown, while adding 30 yards on the ground.
Tennessee destroyed Vanderbilt in their one game without star quarterback Hendon Hooker, running all over the Commodores on their way to a 56-0 win. Joe Milton didn’t show us much, but it was a nasty night in the rain. Going up against Clemson, Tennessee is going to need some consistency from the big-armed Milton, who is currently the favorite to start next season for the Vols.
With nothing really on the line, opt-outs will be something we’ll follow closely heading into this one. Will we see Jalin Hyatt, Cedric Tillman, Byron Young and Darnell Wright play? We’ll get those answers in the coming weeks.
Something else to watch? Swinney added some interest to this matchup a couple of weeks ago, making comments after the Volunteers lost to the Gamecocks.
“Tennessee is not built defensively, they’re built to outscore people,” said Swinney.
“They’re flipping burgers during the conference championship weekend,” “Like are we going to Atlanta or Phoenix, and next thing you know you forget you gotta go play.”
His Tigers also forgot to go play, losing to the same Gamecocks just days later. I’m sure that will be addressed heavily before this one.
Per DraftKings Sportsbook, Clemson is a four point favorite to open.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See DraftKings.com/sportsbook for details.