The Ohio State-Clemson matchup is a preview of what Orange Bowl fans could see in the future under the new College Football Playoff system.
In the eight years Sun Life Stadium isn’t hosting a playoff semifinal, the game will pit the highest available Atlantic Coast Conference team against a highly-ranked Big Ten, Southeastern Conference team or Notre Dame.
“We’re positioned very well to have 12 great years under the new scenario,” said Orange Bowl committee member and Fort Lauderdale mayor Jack Seiler, who serves as the vice chair of the OB football committee.
“We’ll put together tremendous games.”
Ohio State and Clemson returned nearly half of the 35,000 combined tickets they were obligated to sell before the game.
Each team was obligated to purchase 17,500 tickets as part of the BCS bowl agreement.
Ohio State sold 8,500 and returned 9,000 tickets to be distributed to youth charities, military personnel and other community outreach programs.
Clemson spokesman Joe Galbraith said Wednesday the Tigers had also sold 8,500 tickets with the hope of selling 10,000 by kickoff. At that point, Clemson had returned 7,500 tickets.
Galbraith said fans go to third-party markets like Stub Hub to purchase tickets instead of through the school and that obviously affects sales.
“We’re a little ahead of pace from where we were two years ago,” Galbraith said of the sales. “We’re going to have a huge contingent here.”
Ohio State spokesman Jerry Emig said the state has 18,932 Buckeyes alums, third-most in the country after Ohio and California. He expected a good crowd Friday.
• At kickoff, the temperature in Columbus, Ohio (9 degrees Fahrenheit) and Clemson, S.C. (34 degrees) was a little colder than it was at Sun Life Stadium (62 degrees with 71 percent humidity).
This fact was announced in the press boxes, possibly to make sure media from South Carolina and Ohio could pass this along to their consumers.
Hall of Fame
The Orange Bowl Hall of Fame inducted two players and a college sports administrator this year.
Clemson defensive back Terry Kinard, the Tigers all-time leader in interceptions and a future Super Bowl winner with the Giants, played on the Tigers team that beat Nebraska 22-15 in the 1982 Orange Bowl to win the national championship. Despite coming into the game ranked No. 1, Clemson was an underdog to Nebraska, both on program reputation and six previous No. 1 teams losing that season.
Florida State linebacker Peter Boulware played against Notre Dame in the Seminoles’ 1996 Orange Bowl win.
The administrator was former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese. While Tranghese led the Big East, the Orange Bowl began to host the champion of the conference created for college basketball.
This and that
• The trend in both college football and the NFL is for the team winning the toss to defer the choice until the second half, then take the second half kickoff instead of the opening kickoff.
The exceptions: if you have Peyton Manning at quarterback or if you’re expecting an offensive shootout. The latter came into play for Friday’s game, for which the over/under spread opened at 67 and moved up to 72 by kickoff.
Clemson won the toss, took the ball and scored the first of the two teams’ combined three touchdowns in the first three possessions.
• Clemson called the toss because Ohio State was the home team. The last time a Big Ten team was designated the home team for the Orange Bowl, it was Ohio State in 1977. The Buckeyes beat Colorado 27-10 behind an MVP performance off the bench by Rod Gerald, the starting quarterback relegated to backup status by injury. According to the book “War As They Knew It,” Gerald almost didn’t make the trip and had to be talked into it.