For the first time since the 2014 season, the Tigers will not be playing in Charlotte on championship weekend. While Wake Forest and Pitt will square off to decide an ACC champion, the Tigers sit and await their bowl destination.
Clemson was knocked out of playoff contention before the month of September even ended. Having finished the regular season 9-3 overall, 6-2 in ACC play, and ranked No. 23 in the CFP Rankings, they also won’t be playing in a NY6 bowl game.
So where will the Tigers be playing? Right now there looks to be three possibilities.
Gator Bowl (Dec 31)
This is Clemson’s most likely landing spot, and against an SEC foe. ESPN, as well as 247 Sports have the Tigers penciled into the New Year’s Eve game in Jacksonville, with Texas A&M as the opponent.
This matchup could be one of the more intriguing games of the bowl season. Two teams that feature very stout defenses. So far, A&M is the only team to knock off Alabama. Dabo Swinney is 4-4 head-to-head vs Jimbo Fisher in his career.
Cheez It Bowl (Dec 29)
CBS Sports has Clemson projected to play Iowa State in the Cheez It Bowl down in Orlando. The Tigers and Cyclones have never met, making this another intriguing matchup.
Don’t be fooled by Iowa State’s 7-5 record. They’re a solid team, and have had several heartbreaking losses this season, including losing to Baylor by three, Texas Tech by three, and Oklahoma by seven.
The Athletic has Clemson facing Brent Venables’ alma mater, Kansas State, in this bowl game.
Duke’s Mayo Bowl (Dec 30)
Sports Illustrated has the Tigers playing in Charlotte, against Wisconsin. Another team Clemson has never played.
Two run-heavy offenses against one another, and both feature one of the nation’s stingiest defenses. The Badgers are actually second in the nation in total defense, trailing only Georgia.
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