Orange Bowl 2014: Date, Start Time and Matchup Prediction

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 01:  Orange Bowl MVP Lonnie Pryor #24 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates after they won 31-10 against the Northern Illinois Huskies during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 1, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

No, it's not the BCS National Championship Game. But the 2014 Orange Bowl will be the next best thing for two of college football's top programs this winter. 

The top-tier bowl game is set to kick off on Friday, Jan. 3 from Sun Life Stadium in Miami. The only unknown at this point is which pair of teams will be playing for the prestigious bowl of oranges. 

With the official announcement to come on Sunday night, here we'll get you set with some critical information and an early matchup prediction ahead of next month's marquee bowl game.

 

Date: Friday, January 3, 2014

Start Time: 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami

Watch: ESPN

Live Stream: ESPN3.com

 

Matchup Prediction: Clemson Tigers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 23: Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers drops back to pass during the game against the Citadel Bulldogs at Memorial Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
Tyler Smith/Getty Images

With Florida State finishing the year a perfect 13-0 and heading to the BCS National Championship Game, the expectation is that Clemson will earn a bid to replace the Seminoles and represent the ACC in Miami. 

Ohio Stateone of the top-ranked teams to not earn an automatic bidwill likely be selected as well.

As pointed out by SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel, the majority opinion is that the Tigers will meet the Buckeyes in the Orange Bowl as a result of Michigan State having clinched the Big Ten and a berth in the Rose Bowl:

Clemson finished 10-2 this past season following a 6-0 start that included a win over Georgia. But a blowout loss at home to Florida State in midseason knocked Clemson out of the national championship picture and the ACC title race as the Seminoles ran the table to win the Atlantic Division. 

The Tigers' season-ending loss at rival South Carolina was hardly a surprise, but troublesome as Clemson turned the ball over six times in the 14-point loss.

But while Clemson should be thrilled to earn a BCS bid after going 1-2 against ranked teams this season, Ohio State will be disappointed to wind up in South Beach. Prior to Saturday night's gut-wrenching loss to Michigan State, the Buckeyes were projected to play for the national championship. 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 07:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks down during the Big Ten Conference Championship game against the Michigan State Spartans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

What's more, Saturday's loss was Ohio State's first ever under head coach Urban Meyer. Therefore, it remains to be seen how Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes will respond a month from now.

Despite the bitter ending to Ohio State's regular-season run, it'll likely be favored over Clemson, which surrendered 70 points in a 37-point loss to West Virginia its last time out in the Orange Bowl two years ago.

 

What to Watch For

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 07:  Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks to run during the Big Ten Conference Championship game against the Michigan State Spartans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

If Clemson and Ohio State do in fact meet in the Orange Bowl next month, college football fans will want to pay close attention to the two starting quarterbacks.

Clemson's Tajh Boyd and Ohio State's Braxton Miller are two of the top signal-callers in the country and can beat defenses in a variety of ways. Boyd, who has thrown for more than 3,400 yards and 29 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons, is seen as one of the top quarterbacks set to enter the NFL draft next spring.

Meanwhile, Miller is only a junior and has rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored at least 28 total touchdowns in each of the past two seasons with the Buckeyes.

So, whether it's Boyd testing Ohio State's defense though the air or Miller shredding Clemson with his legs, each possession would bring tremendous potential in this particular Orange Bowl matchup.

 

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