The first post-season New Year’s Six showdown makes the headlines of the Friday bowling game schedule, with Number 6 Tennessee and Number 7 Clemson playing at the 2022 Orange Bowl. Volunteers were well-suited for a College Football Playoff berth until November, but a massive loss in South Carolina ended those hopes. The Tigers are back at the top of the ACC thanks to backup quarterback Cade Klubnik, who was named MVP of their ACC Championship Game win over North Carolina.
Simply put, it’s a fascinating postseason encounter. Despite their end-of-season struggles, Tennessee still has a lot of hope for the future. Meanwhile, Clemson can set the tone for a return to CFP by giving her teens some experience on a big stage.
How will things change at Hard Rock Stadium on Friday? Let’s examine this New Year’s Six battle between Volunteers and Tigers.
Watch LIVE as the Tigers and Volunteers face off at Miami Gardens Here.
How to watch the Orange Bowl live
History: Friday, December 30 | Time: 20:00 ET
Location: Hard Rock Stadium — Miami Gardens, Florida
TELEVISION: ESPN | Live broadcast: fuboTV (Try for free)
Tennessee vs. Clemson: What You Need to Know
Klubnik factor: The Tigers freshman quarterback was stupendous when he beat North Carolina 39-10 in the ACC Championship Game, pitching for 279 yards and scoring a point while only missing four. Fans have been clamoring for the former blue-chip novice after another disappointing season from two-year starter DJ Uiagalelei, who has since announced his transfer to Oregon State. Now that Klubnik is in the top five and coach Dabo Swinney has some time to work with him after the end of the regular season, it will be fascinating to see how many playbooks Swinney gives to his possible debut in 2023.
Josh Heupel exaggerated speech: The Volunteers’ second-year coach led one of the most notable comebacks of the season, but quarterback Hendon Hooker (injury) and star wide receiver Jalin Hyatt (opt-out) will not. However, expect Heupel to allow quarterback Joe Milton to release his system in an effort to show off his system to recruits across the country, not just South Florida.
Swinney’s success: The Tigers’ head coach has two national titles under his belt, but his bowling record overall has been largely ignored. Counting national championship games and CFP semifinals, Swinney has won 10 of his last 14 games postseason, including last season’s Cheez-It Bowl. The senior coach knows how to prepare his team and, more importantly, how to motivate his team even outside of the playoff rotation.
Orange Bowl prediction, picks
Featured Game | Clemson Tigers vs Tennessee Volunteers
It will be a shootout and while Clemson can take the win, expect Klubnik to make a few mistakes that will allow Tennessee to be late for the ball with a chance to win. Will the Vols get the job done? Maybe. Don’t underestimate Heupel’s ability to craft some games that leverage the incredible arm strength of backup quarterback Joe Milton. Prediction: Tennessee +5.5
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