Dabo Swinney, Urban Meyer say teams excited, ready to put disappointment behind them

Clemson and Ohio State share a brief, but significant history

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is tackled by a pair of West Virginia defenders.

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is tackled by a pair of West Virginia defenders.

The first and last time that Clemson played Ohio State, Woody Hayes slugged Charlie Bauman.

A lot of history, good and bad, has passed under the bridge for both programs since then.

These days most of the interaction between the Tigers and Buckeyes comes in the recruiting arena, especially since Urban Meyer took the reins in Columbus and began a wholesale expansion of OSU's talent search into the Southeast.

That will change on Jan. 3 in Miami Gardens, Fla., when the No. 12 Tigers take on the seventh-rated, bitterly disappointed Buckeyes in the Discover Orange Bowl.

The Orange Bowl appearance will be the second in three years for Clemson, which will be looking to embrace an old memory over a fresher one. The Tigers' 2011 shellacking at the hands of West Virginia was their first trip to the Orange Bowl since they won the 1981 national championship there.

Charlie Bauman played in all 47 games for the Tigers from 1977-80. The middle guard made one of the most famous plays in Clemson history at the 1978 Gator Bowl game against Ohio State.

Charlie Bauman played in all 47 games for the Tigers from 1977-80. The middle guard made one of the most famous plays in Clemson history at the 1978 Gator Bowl game against Ohio State.

For the second straight season, the Tigers (10-2) will try to exorcize their end-of-the-season pain against an established national powerhouse. They'll face an Ohio State team (12-1) that went through the regular season unbeaten, entered championship weekend ranked No. 2, and then missed a national title showdown with top-ranked Florida State when it fell 34-24 on Saturday to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game.

In earning its spot in the Orange Bowl, Clemson becomes just the second ACC team ever to claim an at-large BCS bid. The other came in 2011, when Virginia Tech played in the Sugar Bowl after Clemson won the ACC title and the league's automatic Orange Bowl spot.

Clemson will be making its second BCS appearance, while Ohio State will be playing in a BCS bowl for a record 10th time.

During a teleconference Sunday night, both Clemson's Dabo Swinney and Ohio State's Meyer expressed confidence that their teams will be in a positive and determined frame of mind despite their final-game disappointments.

"Our guys have had some time off, and we'll be excited and ready to go back to work when we get back on the field next weekend," said Swinney. "We're playing quite possibly the best team in the country, a team that was a couple of plays away from being able to go prove that.

"The post-season is a one-game season. You work your tail off for 12 games, and then you get what you earn. I'm proud of the season we've had, but now what's happened in the previous 12 games is behind us. This is a great opportunity, and we're excited about it."

"We're heartbroken right now, but we had a good conversation after the game last night," said Meyer. "Playing in a BCS game against Clemson will wake us up real fast.

"There's no doubt that we'll be excited to play in this bowl game. I've seen Clemson close and in person, and I recruited some of their guys. Their talent and athleticism is ridiculous."

Clemson's only previous meeting against Ohio State came in the 1978 Gator Bowl, and it proved to be a pivotal one for a Tiger program that three years later would run the table and claim the only national title in school history.

Charley Pell, after leading the Tigers to an 10-1 regular season marred only by an early-season loss to Georgia, bolted for Florida as bowl season approached, and was replaced by 31-year-old Danny Ford.

In his first game at the helm of the Tigers, Ford coached Clemson to a 17-15 victory that proved to be the final chapter in the career of legendary Ohio State Woody Hayes, who lost control of his temper after Bauman's late-game interception snuffed out OSU's hopes for a game-winning field goal. After Bauman ran out of bounds on the Ohio State sideline, Hayes punched Bauman in the throat.

The next morning, OSU athletic director Hugh Hindman - who had played and coached for Hayes at Miami University - asked for his resignation. Hayes declined, and was subsequently fired.

While Clemson claimed the ACC's plum at-large spot, conference runner-up and Coastal Division champion Duke came up with the league's third best post-season gig - a date against Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

Miami, meanwhile, is headed to the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando to face future ACC rival Louisville.

Virginia Tech will play UCLA in the Sun Bowl, Georgia Tech will face Mississippi in the Music City Bowl, North Carolina will take on Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl, Maryland will play Marshall in the Military Bowl, Syracuse will go against Minnesota in the Texas Bowl, and Florida State - which played in the first three BCS championship games - will play Auburn for the final BCS title.

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Comments » 1

clemvol writes:

This game will be very interesting. Two overrated programs with poor defenses and hit and miss offenses. I just wonder how much effort will be put forth given the upcoming NFL draft and combine. If a beat down is put on the Tigers it will put credence to " it ain't working" and further proof to difficult decisions to be made. We will see.

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