Photo via the Orange Bowl
No. 6 Tennessee will face No. 7 Clemson in the 2022 Orange Bowl game.
The Vols land in the Orange Bowl as the highest ranked team not in the playoff, Rose or Sugar Bowl while Clemson lands in the Orange Bowl due to its ACC Championship.
Tennessee is making its fifth appearance in the Orange Bowl with the last one coming in 1998 (1997 season). The Vols are 1-3 all time in the Orange Bowl with losses against Nebraska, Rice and Oklahoma and a victory over Oklahoma.
Tennessee posted a 10-2 (6-2 SEC) record this season with lopsided losses against No. 1 Georgia and South Carolina and strong victories over No. 5 Alabama and LSU. The loss at South Carolina will be long remembered in Knoxville as it cost Tennessee a berth in the College Football Playoff.
Clemson knows all about a loss against South Carolina potentially costing a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Tigers were 10-1 when the Gamecocks beat Clemson the final week of the regular season and ended the Tigers’ playoff hopes.
Clemson (11-2, 9-0 ACC) also lost to Notre Dame with its best wins coming over North Carolina, Wake Forest and Florida State.
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Neither Tennessee or Clemson will play the Orange Bowl with its starting quarterbacks for most of the season. Hendon Hooker suffered a season ending knee injury against South Carolina. Joe Milton III will start for Tennessee against Clemson in the fourth start of his Volunteer career.
Clemson benched two-year starter DJ Uiagalelei for the ACC Championship game deciding to role with freshman Cade Klubnik. The move paid dividends as Klubnik torched North Carolina, completing 20-of-24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown while adding 30 yards and another touchdown on the ground.
Needless to say, Klubnik looked like he should have seen more playing time this season and is Clemson’s quarterback of the future.
The all orange Orange Bowl is also interesting due to Dabo Swinney’s comments about Tennessee after its loss against South Carolina. Swinney said you can’t win at the highest levels playing defense the way Tennessee has. He also proclaimed Tennessee is “flipping burgers” wondering who’d they play in the playoffs.
Swinney walked back the comments and said they were taken out of context earlier this week.
The Orange Bowl is on Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN has the rights to broadcast the game.