Fiesta Bowl prediction roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff. Breaking down what will happen between Clemson and Ohio State.
A lot of people believe this will be a high-scoring, back-and-forth matchup. I’m not so sure about that. Ohio State has one of the best defenses in the country – it returned seven interceptions for touchdowns to lead the nation – and Clemson allowed the fewest yards per game in the ACC. Deshaun Watson has been prone to throwing INTs to the tune of 28 combined over the last two years, and the Buckeyes are going get at least one in this game. Barrett will throw two touchdown passes to Samuel, the Buckeyes slow down Clemson’s attack and Ohio State advances to the title game.
Deshaun Watson has put together an amazing collegiate career, and he’ll have a big game against the Buckeyes. However, he also had a big game against Alabama last season and Clemson still lost. I think that will happen here, too. Watson will hook up with Mike Williams and Jordan Leggett, and Wayne Gallman will run effectively. But Ohio State will simply put more points up on the board. J.T. Barrett will sling the ball and hook up with Curtis Samuel a few times, and Mike Weber will explode out of the gate. Ohio State wins this one.
Coming off of two subpar offensive performances against Michigan State and Michigan, one has to wonder if the Buckeyes have the firepower to keep up with the Tigers. The talent is there, but can it come together in their biggest game of the season? I’d expect the extra bowl practices—and the fact that we’re talking about an Urban Meyer-coached team—to help Ohio State put on a fantastic offensive performance behind the legs of J.T. Barrett and the playmaking ability of Curtis Samuel.
Ohio State will rise up to the occasion and give one of its best offensive efforts of the year, but Dabo Swinney and Co. want Alabama again. The Tigers believe they have the goods to win the national championship. The Clemson defensive line will ultimately be the difference, as the OSU offensive line will be a bit leaky in the fourth quarter as Swinney and Co. advance to their second straight title game behind Heisman Trophy runner-up quarterback Deshaun Watson and that D.
Here is the funny thing about college football: last year’s Ohio State team was a lot better than this year’s edition, but the Buckeyes are in the College Football Playoff this season and weren’t last. This will be a high-scoring affair as Clemson throws everything at the Buckeyes. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they will come up short as Ohio State pulls this one out and sets up a meeting with Alabama in the national title game.