SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — This is where Ohio State wants to be.
After being left out of the College Football Playoff in back-to-back seasons, the Buckeyes finally have made it back to the semifinal, a spot they feel they should be in every season.
That’s such a strong belief that many of the Buckeyes were disappointed with their trip to the Rose Bowl last season — because it wasn’t good enough. Now that they’re here in the semifinal, they’re going to make the most of the opportunity.
“We were predicted to finish fourth in the Big Ten, Coach [Ryan] Day wasn’t expected to maintain what Coach [Urban] Meyer has done here, the defense wasn’t expected to be good,” cornerback Jeff Okudah said. “So, when you look at it like that and how everyone has responded to it, I think it’s just a big chip on our shoulder. Saturday is kind of a chance to start to get the chip off our shoulder.”
Ohio State seems to be playing an underdog role more for the Fiesta Bowl than at any point in recent memory. Meanwhile. Clemson always seems to manufacture a chip on its shoulder.
The underdog mentality has helped the Buckeyes weather the storm of award season travel and three weeks off. They have been locked in since Dec. 8, when they found out they would meet Clemson in the desert.
“I feel like I’ve been locked in the whole time, even though we were at the award shows and stuff like that, I was always thinking about the playoffs,” Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins said. “This is what you dream of. This is what you come to Ohio State for.”
Dobbins came to win a national title. Now at 13-0 and with the semifinal looming, he finally has a chance to for the first time in his career.
With an opportunity to be an underdog for the first time all season, Ohio State seems ready for the Tigers. For anybody heading to the desert for the game, listening on the radio or watching on TV, Lettermen Row has all the viewing information that could possibly be needed to not miss a moment of the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl.
Ohio State vs. Clemson game time, details
Ohio State will meet Clemson for the fourth time in program history. All three games have come in bowl games, and the Buckeyes are 0-3 all time against the Tigers. Ohio State lost the 1978 Gator Bowl, the 2013 Orange Bowl and the 2016 Fiesta Bowl to Clemson. The Buckeyes are playing in their seventh Fiesta Bowl since 2002.
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Date: Saturday, Dec. 28
Location: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona (capacity: 63,400)
The line: The Buckeyes are a 2-point underdog, per VegasInsider.com
Over/under: 63.5 points
What TV channel is the Ohio State game on?
The Buckeyes and Tigers will play on ESPN, with Chris Fowler (play-by-play), Kirk Herbstreit (color analyst), Maria Taylor (Clemson sideline) and Tom Rinaldi (Ohio State sideline) on the call.
How can I watch online?
The Buckeyes and Tigers can be streamed online via WatchESPN.com.
How can I listen to the game on the radio?
Paul Keels and Jim Lachey will have the call on 97.1 FM (WBNS) in Columbus. A full list of football radio affiliates for the program can be found here.
Miss any of our coverage so far from the desert?
- Five Questions as Buckeyes begin final Fiesta Bowl preparations
- Will Mike Yurcich give Ohio State second coordinator to replace?
- Five Buckeyes who could swing Fiesta Bowl outcome
- BuckIQ: Fiesta Bowl will put Shaun Wade in national spotlight
- Lathan Ransom reflects on coaching change, role in Buckeyes defense
- Justin Fields ditching heavy knee brace, still not full speed for Ohio State
- What We Learned from Ohio State coaches, stars at Fiesta Bowl practice
- Ohio State special teams could tip Fiesta Bowl scales
- Buckeyes enjoying role of disrespected Fiesta Bowl underdog
- Buckeyes work through Christmas, energy builds for Fiesta Bowl
- BuckIQ: Healthy, versatile Baron Browning enhances Ohio State defense
- Ryan Day, Brent Venables battle will be fascinating chess match
- What We Learned from Ryan Day, Buckeyes at Fiesta Bowl media day