ESPN has released its College Football Playoff predictions and bowl matchups for the 2022 season, including the Orange Bowl opponent for Clemson football.
Those projections include Georgia vs. Ohio State in the Peach Bowl and Michigan vs. TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.
The projection has Clemson matched up with Tennessee in the Orange Bowl, which will be played at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 30th at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Tennessee was 8-0 at one point during the season, lost to Georgia and a couple of weeks after that lost all hope of a playoff spot by getting pole-axed by South Carolina.
The Vols rallied to crush an improved Vanderbilt team, but their star quarterback, Hendon Hooker is out for the season, making Tennessee a very different team than they were in September and October.
Clemson, too, is likely to look completely different moving forward, as freshman quarterback Cade Klubnik took over early against North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game and revived a moribund Tiger offense as the Tigers cruised to a 39-10 win.
Fifteen bowl practices with first-team reps should help Klubnik mature quickly, not only for the bowl game, but in anticipation of next season.
Bowl games in today’s game can be hit or miss, with many star players opting out in order to avoid a potential injury and the loss of a theoretical huge NFL payday.
That issue hasn’t affected Clemson to this point, but one has to wonder what the participation will look like on Tennessee’s side, assuming the matchup comes to be.
Klubnik finished the ACC Championship Game completing 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown, while also leading the Tigers with 30 yards rushing and a score on the ground.
Clemson football could be facing a Tennessee squad without its top playmaker on offense
Joe Milton, III replaced Hooker at quarterback for Tennessee against Vanderbilt and the Vols racked up 362 yards on the ground, without much needed through the air, but Milton completed 11 of 21 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Again, if this matchup happens, it’ll likely be the battle of two little used quarterbacks as Milton has attempted only 54 passes on the season and Klubnik 46.