Both Clemson (10-1) and Ohio State (6-0) are enjoying the “sweet” taste of success today, as both teams were selected to compete in this years “Allstate Sugar Bowl” taking place on January 1st 2021 in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Sugar Bowl will act as the College Football Playoff Semifinal for No. 2 Clemson, from the Atlantic Coast Conference and No. 3 Ohio State from the Big Ten Conference.
“We look forward to hosting the Tigers and the Buckeyes in this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl,” said Jeff Hundley, the CEO of the Sugar Bowl. “Clemson has established itself as a modern-day powerhouse, and Ohio State enjoys a long-standing history of success at the highest level. Both teams have had outstanding seasons and their rosters are filled with some of the best players in the country. This should be a fun match-up to watch on New Year’s Day.”
The winner of the 87th annual Sugar Bowl Classic, will advance to the College Football Playoff Championship, scheduled for Monday, January 11, in South Florida.
“It’s an incredible opportunity any year, but especially this year, all that has transpired and what all of these guys have had to do to get to this point. So just really happy for them” said Clemson head coach Dabo Sweeney, “It’s hard – college football – it’s 130 teams, it’s very difficult to get to this point. We look forward to competing against a great Ohio State team. We all know how talented they are, how well-coached they are. Got a lot of respect for Ryan Day and Ohio State.”
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day shared a similar sentiment, “Everyone here is very, very excited about the opportunity to play in the Sugar Bowl. To get an opportunity to get back into the playoff and play against Clemson is very, very exciting, Certainly have an unbelievable amount of respect for Dabo [Swinney] and his program and what they’ve done. Looking forward to the opportunity to play.”
As both teams are excited to play in the Sugar Bowl, the actual selection of teams wasn’t without controversy. Chatter over the number of games each team has played left a sour taste in some people’s mouths. Some felt it is an unfair match-up due to Clemson playing eleven games vs Ohio State only playing six. But does it really matter?
“The mental and physical toll of a season — there’s nobody out there that would say that somebody who’s played 11 games versus somebody who’s played six is better physically or something like that because it’s a long season” said Sweeney. “These guys have had no break. It’s been a grind, That’s a lot of physicality. So I definitely think that it matters. But at the end of the day, none of that matters in New Orleans. What matters is who plays the best in those four quarters”
Again, Clemson Coach Day shares a similar viewpoint with Swinney.
“When you play in big games, you have to execute at a high level. That’s really what it comes down to. Both teams are going to play hard. Everything is on the line. It is who executes better is going to pull it out. We have to do that. Whether we played six, eight, ten, or they played 12, I don’t really know. I don’t know what that really means. So we’ll try not to focus on that. We’ll try to execute the best game we could possibly — do the best job we can on Saturday”
This is the second straight year these two teams have battled it out for the Bowl title. Last year, Clemson beat Ohio 29-23 in Glendale, AZ advancing them to the CFP championship game against LSU. This will be the sixth straight season that Clemson has been in the playoffs.
With only having 12 days to prep for this years’ Bowl game and Christmas in the middle, both teams have a challenge on their hands. But one thing is for sure, come game day on January 1st, coaches and players will be ready to play quality football and fans will be ready to take on that sugar high!
The Allstate Sugar Bowl kicks off at 8:45pm EST on ESPN.