The hype surrounding Clemson vs. Ohio State grows every second that the Allstate Sugar Bowl gets closer to being played.
Of course, Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney continues to add fuel to the fire by defending his final Coaches’ Poll ranking. He placed the Buckeyes at No. 11, inciting outrage from the Ohio State faithful. He doubled down on the rating soon after. He justified the position because the Buckeyes played only six games in 2020, while other top competitors played 10 or more.
Not only were Ohio State fans clearly ticked off at Swinney’s perceived snub, but many believe that the team will also take it personally. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit became the latest to say how Ryan Day and the Buckeyes might use the slight as motivation come Jan. 1.
“Ohio State is gonna spin it into ‘not only should we have beaten them a year ago and we got jobbed on a few calls but now their coach is saying we’re the 11th best team in the country,’” Herbstreit said on ‘Herbie, Pollack and Negandhi’ per 247Sports. “Coaches are always looking for a reason to get their team collectively fired up and to get angry and Ryan Day has an easy job this time around to get his team ready.”
— 247Sports (@247Sports) December 29, 2020
Ohio State could use Swinney’s comments as additional cause for revenge in this year’s semifinal. The Buckeyes already want a chance to knock off the Tigers after last year’s close loss. Clemson inched out Ohio State in the controversial 2019 CFP semifinal, setting up a date with LSU in last year’s National Championship.
The Buckeyes have plenty to clean up this week before they face off with the Tigers. Justin Fields will need to play at an elite level and the secondary will have to slow down Trevor Lawrence.
But no one will really know which team is better until the game is over on Friday.
No. 2 Clemson will take on No. 3 Ohio State at the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. ET. The game will air on ESPN and take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.