This year's Gator Bowl holds a special place in the hearts of Tigers and Cornhuskers. This game is a rematch of the 1981 National Championship in which the Tigers won a thriller, 22-15.
The Clemson Tigers (7-5) have had a season that has not gone anywhere close to according to plan. After the resignation of former head coach Tommy Bowden, the Tigers finished the season winning four of their final six under the mind of head coach Dabo Swinney.
Coach Swinney has done a great job preparing his team from week to week since taking the reigns and hopes to pick up his first bowl win.
Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini has done a great job through his first season with the Cornhuskers, pushing them to a second place finish in their division.
The Tigers and Cornhuskers faceoff New Years Day at 1:00 pm on CBS from Jacksonville, FL.
Clemson will win if...
The Tiger defense can hold a very potent offense at bay. It is no surprise the Cornhuskers have a powerful offense that puts up some serious numbers.
The big test will actually be on the Nebraska offense. The question has lingered all season about whether Big 12 offenses are actually that good, or if Big 12 defenses are actually that bad.
Joe Ganz loves to get outside the pocket and throw on the run. If the Tiger defense can keep him contained and rattle his cage, the odds of a Tiger victory go way up.
This will be the ultimate test tomorrow: Will the Tiger defense hold strong and keep the Cornhuskers to minimal yardage, or will the Big 12 offense prevail and prove to the country that their offense is legitimate?
Clemson will lose if...
One word comes up: turnovers. Many of the Tiger football games this season have been doomed because of turnovers and excellent field-position given to opposing offenses.
If the Cornhuskers can get a couple of turnovers, the Tigers could be in serious trouble.
I must agree with my counterpart on this one. The true X-Factor of this game is fan support. Both of these teams have fans that are among the best in the country when it comes to traveling to support their team. There will be a flood of orange and red running around Jacksonville over the next few days.
My prediction is...there is no clear-cut deciding principle in this game. The winner of this game is going to have to pressure the other team into making mistakes and then capitalizing on those mistakes. Clemson will be able to do this.
Final Score: Clemson 27, Nebraska 21
For more on this matchup, please read SportMonk's article. SportMonk is a loyal Nebraska fan who knows his team very well. He has some great insights on how Nebraska will fair in this game.