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Fiesta Bowl 2020: Updated Odds and Comments for Clemson vs. Ohio State

Jake RillSenior Analyst IDecember 19, 2019

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 07: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers watches on against the Virginia Cavaliers during the ACC Football Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Clemson is 13-0, won the ACC championship and has captured the national title in two of the previous three seasons. Yet the Tigers still have their critics entering this season's College Football Playoff.

Although Clemson is a two-point favorite, per Caesars, for its Fiesta Bowl matchup vs. Ohio State, it may not have the most impressive resume. None of the teams the Tigers faced during the regular season were especially strong, and their only close game was a 21-20 victory at North Carolina on Sept. 28.

But Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is defending his team's accomplishments as it prepares to play in a CFP semifinal on Dec. 28.

"I don't care what league you're in, it's incredibly difficult to win, to win them all," Swinney recently said, according to Phil Harrison of Buckeyes Wire. "And our league has got 10 bowl teams, has been very competitive. We've got a track record over the last nine years that kind of speaks for itself.

"And I think our team, in particular, has shown up with great focus and preparation each week with great respect for every opponent and have found a way to win."

But Swinney likely knows that Ohio State will be the best team that Clemson has faced this season.

The Buckeyes are also 13-0, having won the Big Ten championship and taken down some top-ranked teams from their conference to reach this point. They had two Heisman Trophy finalists—quarterback Justin Fields and defensive end Chase Young—and they own two wins over No. 8 Wisconsin as well as victories against No. 10 Penn State and No. 14 Michigan.

"They're good up front on both sides," Swinney said of Ohio State, per Harrison. "They've got as good a players there is in college football coming off the edge. Their quarterback has been amazing. They've got great skill outside and great backs that can run the ball. So this is a very complete team, very well coached. And it's going to be a challenge."

This will be the first College Football Playoff for Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day, who is in his first full season leading the team following Urban Meyer's retirement.

The focus for Day heading into his first Playoff game? Keeping his Ohio State players aware of their main goal of winning the national title.

"It's an opportunity to go win the whole thing," Day recently said, according to Dean Straka of 247Sports.com. "That was the whole thing coming in, that we have an opportunity. It's not easy to come to a place like Ohio State. The expectations are so high, but I always looked at it like an opportunity. We have an opportunity for our team. We are two games away from winning the national championship. That's how we have to look at it."

When Clemson and Ohio State last faced in the College Football Playoff, it was a one-sided matchup. The Tigers rolled to a 31-0 victory in the Fiesta Bowl in the 2016 season then went on to beat Alabama for the national championship.

Clemson will be looking for similar results. Ohio State hopes to fare better. And college football fans will get to enjoy watching these unbeaten powerhouses face off on the big stage.