SOLID ORANGE: No. 12 Clemson or No. 7 Ohio State will redeem themselves in Orange Bowl clash
CLEMSON - When Ohio State fell for the first time in two years and Oklahoma State couldn't beat its Bedlam rival at home, the ramifications were a last-minute shakeup for the five Bowl Championship Series games.
2014 Discover Orange Bowl
Who: Clemson vs. Ohio State
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
When: Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m.
Records: Clemson (10-2, 7-1 ACC); Ohio State (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten)
Last year's result: Florida State 31, Northern Illinois 10
One of the few constants: Clemson to the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl in south Florida on Jan. 3.
No. 12 Clemson (10-2) will get its shot at redemption against No. 7 Ohio State (12-1), which has mighty incentive itself to get back on the right track four Friday nights from now.
The BCS bowl matchups and final BCS standings were announced Sunday night on ESPN.
"We'll get back to work. Our guys are excited about the postseason," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "We're trying to get an 11th win. We've never had back-to-back 11-win seasons, so there's a lot of opportunity."
With No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn duking it out for the national championship in Pasadena, the Orange Bowl tabbed the Tigers to replace FSU as the ACC's representative and grabbed the Buckeyes as an at-large choice.
An eight-year streak of the ACC champion playing in the Orange Bowl breaks, with FSU qualifying for the BCS national championship Jan. 6.
This is Clemson's second Orange Bowl in three years, and the last one ended badly: a 70-33 shellacking at the hands of West Virginia, which prompted the ouster of defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. Clemson also seeks validation for a 10-win season that tasted bitter with a 37-point home loss to FSU and its fifth consecutive defeat to rival South Carolina.
As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes seemed primed to take on the Seminoles in southern California, but their perfect season was ruined by Michigan State's 34-24 upset victory in Saturday's Big Ten championship game. That dropped second-year head coach Urban Meyer's record at Ohio State to 24-1.
"We had a good conversation after the game last night. They're heartbroken, but they're competitors," Meyer said. "I think the fact we're playing in a BCS bowl game against Clemson, that's gonna wake you up real fast."
OSU returns to the postseason after an NCAA-imposed bowl ban last year, stemming from 2010 violations for players exchanging team paraphernalia for cash and gifts and coaches' failure to self-report the deeds.
Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama are the only three of the 10 BCS teams that lost their last regular season game.
Both the Tigers and Buckeyes are led by veteran quarterbacks who were on the Heisman radar during the season in Clemson senior Tajh Boyd and Ohio State junior Braxton Miller. Boyd has the seventh-highest passer rating among FBS quarterbacks; Miller is No. 14.
Clemson junior wideout Sammy Watkins leads the ACC with 1,237 receiving yards; Ohio State senior tailback Carlos Hyde leads the Big Ten with 1,408 rushing yards.
Clemson junior Vic Beasley (19 tackles for loss, 12 sacks) is one of six Hendricks Award finalists honoring the nation's best defensive end; Ohio State junior Ryan Shazier (135 tackles, 23.5 for a loss) is one of five Butkus Award finalists honoring the nation's best linebacker.
Had Ohio State beaten Michigan State and proceeded to the title game, Clemson's likely Orange Bowl foe would have been defending national champion Alabama, where Swinney previously played and coached for a dozen years combined.
Clemson and Ohio State have only met once in their history, and it was a notable game: Danny Ford's coaching debut for Clemson and Woody Hayes' abrupt final farewell leading the Buckeyes.
The Tigers defeated OSU, 17-15, at the Gator Bowl on Dec. 29, 1978, with Hayes punching Clemson sophomore Charlie Bauman upon going out of bounds after the game-sealing interception.
This is Clemson's first game against any Big Ten foe since beating Illinois, 30-0, in the Hall of Fame Bowl on New Year's Day 1991. It is just the Tigers' fourth game in their history against an active member of the league; they lost to Minnesota 20-13 on Dec. 21, 1985 in the Independence Bowl. They are also 2-1 against Nebraska and Penn State, who have since joined the Big Ten.
Ohio State will play in its tenth BCS game in the 16-year BCS era; this is just the second such affair for Clemson. The ACC is 3-13 all-time in BCS games; the Big Ten is officially 11-13 (not counting vacated appearances). Clemson represents the ACC's second at-large selection in 16 years, following Virginia Tech two seasons ago.
Swinney said he expects all Tigers with non-season-ending injuries to be ready to go for the Orange Bowl. Clemson's first bowl practice is Friday, and the team flies to Fort Lauderdale on Sat. Dec. 28.
"We're playing very possibly the best team in the country," Swinney said. "This is a huge challenge for us."