Danny Ford will be cheering on Clemson's Tigers when they play Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.
But he won't be there.
Ford has a holiday date with his grandchildren, who'll be visiting his Pendleton farm the week after Christmas, and he wouldn't miss it for the world.
"I'm not going, and I'm don't want to go, even if they paid my way," said Ford. "I don't get to see my grandkids but about twice a year, and that's where I'll be."
Nonetheless, Ford considers himself an interested and somewhat informed observer, and thinks fans may be in for a high-scoring shootout unless somebody finds a way to improve their defensive weaknesses by game time.
"From what I've watched this season, what Ohio State does well is what Clemson has a tough time with," Ford said. "And what Clemson does well, Ohio State has a tough time with.
"So both teams will have had about 30 days to improve on what they've done poorly, and we'll see what happens."
The Buckeyes are led by perhaps the nation's most dangerous running quarterback in Braxton Miller, and Clemson is coming off a game in which it was burned repeatedly by the running, both planned and improvised, of South Carolina's Connor Shaw.
Ohio State's pass defense, meanwhile, has been torched for more than 750 yards in its last two games.
Ford sees all the makings of a score-fest.
"It may be like that Auburn-Missouri game," Ford said. "At halftime, I thought the game should have been over with. That the most moving back and forth and scoring I've ever seen in my life.
"It's going to get like high school in college. Somebody needs to start stopping somebody. In high school you're seeing a lot 65-64s and 54 to 53s and everything else.
"If Clemson doesn't improve on what Ohio State does well, and if Ohio State doesn't improve on what Clemson does well, there's going to be a lot of scoring in that ball game."
During his time out of coaching, Ford has seen spread-type, fast-tempo offenses become the norm in college football. He finds the similar running success of Auburn and Georgia Tech out of different schemes intriguing.
"From what I saw from Auburn, I think there's still a place for the option," Ford said. "And from I saw of Georgia Tech, they moved the ball. It's just according to what you recruit for and what players you've got."
Ford said he's interested to see how Clemson adjusts its offense to a new quarterback after Tajh Boyd is gone.
"It'll be interesting to see how Clemson will tweak or change their offense to suit the next quarterback," he said. "Will they run more option or read-option, or will there be even more throwing and spreading out?
"I think it just all goes back to your personnel. A good example is Auburn. They recruited certain players for a certain style, and then they went to a power game and it didn't work. They were 0-8 (in the SEC) last year and now they're playing for the national championship by going back to what they recruited to."
At the request of Clemson football sports information director Tim Bourret, Ford visited with the media in the WestZone just before the Tigers opened practice for the Orange Bowl.
He said there's little connection between 1978 and today except for Ohio State being the common opponent.
"This really doesn't have much of anything to do with what we've done, other than that we played Ohio State one year," Ford said. "We had a very fine team of people put together by Red Parker and his coaching staff, and Charley Pell's coaching staff. I was fortunate enough to coach 'em against Coach (Woody) Hayes."
The game is remembered as a pivotal one for both Clemson and Ohio State. It was the first game of the Ford era for the Tigers, and the final game in the legendary coaching career of Hayes, who was fired the day after the game for punching Clemson defensive lineman Charlie Bauman after his late-game interception all but wrapped up the Tigers' 17-15 victory in the Gator Bowl.
"Everybody knows what happened," Ford said. "He was certainly a great man and a great coach, and it was his last game. Something people may not know is that he called me after that and got Charlie Bauman's telephone number. He did visit with him. I'm just sorry it had to happen against us.
"But this is a whole different bunch in a different era. We wish 'em well. They're playing against a whole different Ohio State team than we played against.
"I just hope they have some luck down there against the Big Ten, and I hope South Carolina don't let Wisconsin beat them. We don't need for the northern boys to get ahead of us in football. We need to find a way to beat both teams."