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Fiesta Bowl 2019: Clemson vs. Ohio State TV Schedule, Time and Odds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 27, 2019

Clemson's Justyn Ross celebrates his touchdown catch during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Alabama Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The Clemson Tigers begin their title defense within the College Football Playoff Saturday against an Ohio State Buckeyes side they crushed on the way to their first championship in the playoff format. 

Three years ago at the Fiesta Bowl, Dabo Swinney's side dominated Ohio State 31-0 and went on to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship. 

While the ACC champion is making its fifth straight playoff appearance, the Big Ten winner is back in the final four for the first time since the drubbing it took in Arizona. 

Ryan Day's side is the better seed entering the 2019 Fiesta Bowl, but it enters as a slight underdog to its fellow undefeated squad. 

               

Fiesta Bowl Information

Date: Saturday, December 28

Start Time: 8 p.m. ET 

TV: ESPN 

Odds (via Caesars): Clemson (-2); Over/Under: 63

           

Preview

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 07: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after a touchdown against the Virginia Cavaliers during the ACC Football Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Charlotte, North Caroli
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The one clear edge Clemson possesses is its playoff experience. 

A majority of its top contributors, including quarterback Trevor Lawrence, have gotten a taste of the playoff pressure. 

The sophomore signal-caller produced a pair of 300-yard performances and six touchdown passes versus the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Alabama in last season's playoff. 

Wide receivers Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross were major figures in both games, and they will be Lawrence's top two targets once again Saturday. 

Ross was the breakout offensive star of the title-winning campaign, as he earned 301 receiving yards on 12 catches. He could be the difference-maker again this season since he has 205 yards on 12 receptions in the last two contests. 

Clemson can also threaten the Ohio State defense through running back Travis Etienne, who has 1,500 rushing yards and 17 scores. 

The over of 63 points seems reasonable when you see the Buckeyes boast a similar explosive offense with Justin Fields at the helm.

The sophomore transfer from Georgia owns 3,424 total yards and 50 total touchdowns, 40 through the air and 10 on the ground. 

Running back J.K. Dobbins ranks third in the FBS with 1,829 rushing yards and a trio of receivers are over 500 yards and have at least six touchdown receptions. 

If both offenses thrive, it would break the trend set by Clemson's previous four national semifinal appearances. 

If you apply Saturday's over/under to those contests, the under is undefeated, as the loser in the last three semifinals involving the Tigers has been held to single digits. 

The defensive play of both programs suggests the under could be the favorable total play as well. 

Clemson and Ohio State rank in the top three in scoring defense, top two in passing defense and top 10 in rushing defense. They combine to allow 23.1 points per game and nine of their opponents have been held to single digits. 

If you opt to stay away from the over/under, the spread bet could be simpler to figure out since it is so small. 

Choosing Clemson on the two-point line likely means you favor it outright, and the same could be said about Ohio State as an underdog, which is a rare role for it to have this season.

                  

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com

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