NCAA Soccer Betting, Odds: Sugar Bowl Preview, Picks

Sugar Bowl: No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State

Time: 8 p.m. (January 1st) | TV: ESPN | Line: Clemson -7.5 | Total: 66.5

New Orleans, College Football Playoffs Semifinals

How these teams got here

Ohio State (6-0): Along with the rest of the Big Ten, the state of Ohio started its season much later than its peers in the college football playoffs. The Buckeyes began their run on October 24th by defeating Nebraska. Wins over Penn State and Rutgers followed before hurdles appeared. OSU didn’t play games against Maryland, Illinois and Michigan due to issues with COVID-19. The Illinois game was due to cases within the OSU program while the other two were opponent issues.

There were also wins against No. 9 Indiana and Michigan State along the way to bring the Buckeyes to 5-0. But losing the game in Michigan put OSU under the six-game minimum rule to be eligible for the Big Ten title game. That was true, however, until the Big Ten adjusted their rule to pave the way for the state of Ohio to represent the Eastern Division in the conference championship game against Northwestern. The game was quite a struggle. OSU fell back 10-6 at halftime, but rallied for a 22-10 win behind a monster performance – 29 transfers, 331 yards and two touchdowns – after running back on Trey Sermon. The win gave OSU its fourth consecutive Big Ten title.

Despite Dabo Swinney’s objections to his coaches’ vote, the state of Ohio ended up third on the final CFP rankings with just a 6-0 record, resulting in a rematch with Clemson.

Clemson (10-1): Clemson lost a regular season game for the first time since 2017 but still managed to win the ACC and advance to the College Football Playoffs. The Tigers opened the year with seven straight wins but encountered a bumpy spot when Trevor Lawrence paused for two games due to COVID-19. In the first game without Lawrence, Clemson fell behind Boston College at halftime, but scored a 34:28 win.

The second game without Lawrence was a 47-40 two-hour overtime loss at Notre Dame, a loss that earned Clemson a 36-game regular season winning streak. Lawrence was back in the spotlight for the rest of the year, leading blowout wins against Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech before the rematch with the Irish in the ACC title game. This time it went to Clemson. And it wasn’t even anywhere near. Clemson won 34-10 to take home his sixth consecutive conference crown and win his sixth straight trip to the CFP.

The story goes on

Trey Sermon (8) from the US state of Ohio will face JR Pace (5) from the northwest defensive in the second half of the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis on December 19, 2020. (AP Photo / Darron Cummings)

Player knowing

Ohio State QB Justin Fields: Ohio state star quarterback Fields has to be at the forefront of his game if the Buckeyes are to upset Clemson. Fields, who sustained a thumb injury, threw only 114 yards and two interceptions against Northwestern. That won’t work against the Tigers.

Fields, who has thrown 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns while completing 72.6% of his throws, will benefit greatly from the return of receiver Chris Olave who missed the game in the northwest. Olave and Garrett Wilson have combined 74 catches, 1,149 yards and 10 touchdowns for the OSU that season.

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence: Lawrence, who will almost certainly be number 1 on next year’s NFL draft, was the difference against the state of Ohio last year when he used his legs. It’s safe to say that the Buckeyes will pay more attention to Lawrence’s athleticism this time around. But Lawrence can hit you in a number of different ways, which is what makes him so good.

Lawrence was the best player on the field in the ACC title game. He threw 322 yards and two touchdowns, but also rushed 90 yards and scored a score. In nine games this year, Lawrence has thrown 2,753 yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions, completing 69.2% of his passes. Lawrence also added 211 yards and seven leg touchdowns.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, 16, scores a touchdown in the second half of the Atlantic Coast Conference NCAA college football game against Notre Dame on Saturday, December 19, 2020 in Charlotte, NC (AP Photo / Brian Blanco).Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, 16, faces a touchdown in the second half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship against Notre Dame on December 19, 2020 in Charlotte, NC (AP Photo / Brian Blanco).

What is at stake?

State of Ohio: The state of Ohio won the national championship in 2014, the first year of the college football era, but has not won it since. The Buckeyes lost in the semifinals in their other two CFP games and both came up against Clemson. In 2016, Ohio was blown out 31-0 in the Fiesta Bowl. Last year the Fiesta Bowl was also a heartbreaking 29-23 defeat. OSU took the lead 16-0 against the Tigers last year, but lost. In 2020 the horse chestnuts have a chance for revenge.

Clemson: Travel to the college football playoffs has become the standard for Clemson. The Tigers have two national championships during Swinney’s tenure and have also lost twice in the title game. This includes the 42:25 loss to LSU last year. Lawrence won everything as a freshman but struggled in the national championship last year. Before moving to the NFL, Lawrence wants the chance to win another title. To have that chance, he must lead Clemson past Ohio State again.


Sam Cooper: Clemson -7.5

Nick Bromberg: Clemson -7.5

More from Yahoo Sports:

Comments are closed.