Clemson Football got to 10-1 on the season with a win over Miami on Saturday night. The Tigers have clinched the Atlantic Division and will face North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game after they take on South Carolina next weekend.
There is still a chance Clemson could qualify for the College Football Playoff. Even if they don’t qualify, they will still probably get a bid to a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Here are the three most likely bowl destinations for the Tigers.
1. Peach Bowl, Atlanta, Georgia, December 31, 2022
As I said, the odds are against Clemson Football for a bid in the playoffs, but they still have a chance if the right teams lose between now and the final CFP poll. If the Tigers do get a bid, they would most likely be the #4 seed, and Georgia would probably be the #1 seed. The semifinals are in Atlanta and Glendale, Arizona. The committee would slot this game into the Peach Bowl, and it would be a spectacle to have these two rival programs in a semifinal in both school’s backyard.
2. Orange Bowl, Miami Gardens, Florida, December 30, 2022
If Clemson Football wins ACC Championship but isn’t in the Top 4 of the CFP rankings, they will find themselves in the Orange Bowl as the representative of the ACC. Their opponent would be a team from the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame. There has been a lot of smoke about Alabama being the most likely team to face the ACC Champion in Miami Gardens. Clemson’s rivalry with Alabama isn’t as lengthy as it is with Georgia, but that won’t matter much. Both programs have found success against each other in the playoffs. This would be a compelling matchup for a New Year’s Six bowl game that doesn’t host a semifinal.
The odds favor Clemson Football to be part of the New Year’s Six bowls this season.
3. Cotton Bowl Classic, Arlington, Texas, January 2, 2023
If Clemson Football does not beat North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game, the question will be whether the Tigers would still qualify for a New Year’s Six bowl game or not. Three of the other non-semifinal NY6 games have automatic qualifiers. The Rose Bowl grabs the highest rated Big Ten and PAC-12 teams not in the playoffs. The Sugar Bowl takes the highest rated SEC and Big 12 teams. Since the Orange Bowl also slots an SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame as the opponent for the ACC champ, that doesn’t leave a lot of other top ranked teams to pick for the Cotton Bowl, which has no automatic tie-ins. There are a lot of moving parts to figure out which teams are most likely to snag these two spots, but given Clemson’s reputation as a fanbase that travels and attends bowl games, I think the Tigers have a good shot to get into the Cotton Bowl.