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Here's which bowl game Clemson will play in and who'll they'll face

The Tigers are coming off a 39-10 win over North Carolina in the ACC Championship Saturday night.

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson will play Tennessee in the Orange Bowl, their reward for a season that saw them come a just short of their quest to return to the College Football Playoff.

Bowl parings and rankings were announced Sunday afternoon, the day after the conference championship games. Clemson (11-2) wound up being ranked 7th in the final College Football Playoff rankings 

The Orange Bowl, which is held in Miami, will take place Friday, December 30 at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

The Tigers are coming off a 39-10 win over North Carolina in the ACC Championship Saturday night.

The Tigers are going into the Orange Bowl with a big change in team leadership: new starting quarterback Cade Klubnik. Klubnik, a freshman, won the job after being put in relief of season-long starter D.J. Uiagalelei during the game against the Tar Heels. Uiagalelei, who had been up and down all year long, looked out of synch again in the opening drives. 

That led Coach Dabo Swinney to make a change that some fans and pundits had been suggesting he should have made for some time by bringing in Klubnik, who was the number one quarterback recruit coming out of high school last year.

Klubnik showed why. He completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score  The Tigers offense, which had looked stagnant at times this season, flourished, showing the explosiveness that had largely been lacking all year. 

After the game, some network commentators openly speculated on what might have been if Clemson had made the switch games ago. Would they have had that bad loss to Notre Dame? And would that 31-30 defeat to rival South Carolina have gone another way? Either of those games turning into victories instead of losses may have put them into the four team playoff. 

But that's all speculation. Now the Tigers attention turns to slow down and keep with Tennessee's prolific offense. Tennessee, however, will not have Heisman candidate quarterback Hendon Hooker, who tore his ACL.

 Oddly enough, the matchup will feature the two teams that the South Carolina Gamecocks eliminated from playoff contention on consecutive weeks. 

Clemson has played in the Orange Bowl six times in school history, most recently in 2015, and are 4-2 all time in the contest. This will be the 20th meeting all-time between Clemson and Tennessee.


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