A short time after the New Year’s Day action between Alabama and Notre Dame has finished, the two teams in the second College Football Playoff Semifinal will take to the field at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
The second seed Clemson Tigers (10-1) face third seed Ohio State (6-0) for a place in the College Championship game.
Clemson’s College Football Season
With new boys Notre Dame added to the ACC for this season, Clemson’s role as the dominant
force in the ACC did seem to be under threat. The Trevor Lawrence inspired offense rolled through the first seven weeks of the season in comparatively easy fashion.
For example, they racked up an incredible 73 points against Georgia Tech on Week 5, but in Week 8, a Clemson team missing many starters due to illness were bettered 47-40 in overtime by Notre Dame.
Further easy wins against Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech followed but having finished second in the ACC, Clemson wanted revenge in the Championship game.
They duly got it with Trevor Lawrence, rated by many to be the certain number 1 pick in the forthcoming 2021 NFL Draft, inspiring the Tigers to the AAC Championship with a comprehensive 34-10 victory. With Lawrence up against a very suspect Ohio State pass defence, there are many experts who feel that this will be where the second semi-final will be won.
With Clemson also boasting an AAC-leading defense, the Tigers look well set for another final appearance.
Ohio State’s College Football Season
In a shorter than usual Big Ten season, Ohio State led the way in the Eastern Conference landing 5
wins without defeat, defeating Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers, Indiana and Michigan State in their regular season before then earning the Big 10 Championship with a 22-10 win over Northwestern.
Although criticised by some for their relatively light schedule, there is no doubt that the play of Quarterback Justin Fields, Running Back Trey Sermon and Wide Receiver Garrett Wilson has caught the eye on the Buckeyes offense.
That record means that since taking over from Urban Meyer in 2019, head coach Ryan Day has led his team to a 19-1 regular season record and two College Football Playoff Semifinal spots.
Last year in the playoffs, the Buckeyes went down to a 29-23 defeat to the Clemson Tigers, so they will be primed and ready to avenge that loss in this second semifinal.
However, they will have to buck the trend of bowl game losses to the Tigers, as Ohio State have yet to beat Clemson in a bowl game or CFP Semifinal, losing all four of the game between the two teams over the years (1978, 2013, 2016 and 2019).
Who are the sportsbooks favouring in the second semifinal?
If the first semifinal is very much seen as a one-sided matchup, this second semifinal is figured to be a much closer affair. Second seed Clemson are the -7 point favourites to win the game with DraftKings Online Sportsbook.
Without any handicap, you can back Ohio State to win at +245, with Clemson offered at -315 and the bookmakers reckon this will be another game with plenty of points scored too, with the Over and Under points betting mark set at 66.5 points combined.
History does tend to favour Clemson here, as do the current odds, but there’s no doubt that Ohio State are due a big win over the Tigers soon, but can the Buckeyes land that win here?
What’s our call on Clemson v Ohio State?
I’m afraid it is going to be heartbreak once again for Ohio State against Clemson in their final game of the season. The Clemson defense has enough to cope with Ohio’s offense, whereas I think Clemson’s offense is going to be far too potent for a porous Buckeye defense to deal with over 60 minutes.
This will be a much closer game than the first semi-final, but I think the seedings will prove to be correct and I am backing Clemson to land the victory 38-24.