Tigers head to Orange Bowl; Gamecocks to Capital One

In-state rivals Clemson and South Carolina will be neighbors again on New Year’s Day, but this time in the Sunshine State.

Clemson, which won the ACC championship game Saturday over Virginia Tech to claim the league’s automatic BCS bowl bid, will play in the Orange Bowl in Miami on Jan. 4, while the Gamecocks will play in the Jan. 2 Capital One Bowl in Orlando.

The Tigers (10-3) are making their first trip to the Orange Bowl since 1981, when they shocked Nebraska to win the national championship. They will face Big East champion West Virginia at SunLife Stadium.

“We are very excited to represent the ACC in the Discover Orange Bowl,” said Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney. “We are especially happy to be in the Discover Orange Bowl because it is the site of our greatest accomplishment in the history of the program 30 years ago this season.”

Overall, this will be Clemson’s fourth trip to the Orange Bowl. Clemson is 2-1 in previous appearances. The Tigers defeated Miami (FL) 15-14 in the Orange Bowl at the end of the 1950 season, then lost to Colorado, 27-21 in the Orange bowl at the end of the 1956 season. This will be West Virginia’s first appearance in the Discover Orange Bowl.

This will be the second meeting between Clemson and West Virginia on the gridiron. Clemson won the previous meeting, 27-7, in the 1989 Gator Bowl. Clemson was ranked 14th and West Virginia was ranked 17th entering that game. Clemson will enter this game ranked 14th in both polls again, while West Virginia is 23rd in AP and 22nd in USA Today.

In the previous meeting Clemson clinched the game in the fourth quarter when then freshman Chester McGlockton sacked West Virginia quarterback Major Harris and jarred the ball loose. McGlockton, who died last week in California, then recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. Clemson wore McGlockton’s #91 on their helmets during the ACC Championship game.

This will be Clemson’s 34th appearance in a bowl game, the seventh consecutive year the Tigers have been selected. Clemson has 16 career bowl victories, tied for 18th best in college football history.

Ironically, the Gamecocks (10-2) will be playing Nebraska in the Florida Citrus Bowl in hopes of winning their 11th game for the first time in school history.

Our team has a lot to play for,” Spurrier said. “We may have as much to play for as any team in the country. We’ve got a lot to play for going for that 11th win and a shot at being the winningest team in school history.”

USC became the second team, joining the 1984 team, to win 10 games when they beat Clemson 34-13 last week.

South Carolina’s lone appearance in Orlando came in the 1975 at the Tangerine Bowl.

The Gamecocks are 4-12 all-time in bowl games. Their last bowl win, and only bowl win under Spurrier, came in Liberty Bowl in 2006, when they beat Houston 44-36. South Carolina has lost three in a row since that game.

South Carolina is 0-3 historically against Nebraska. The teams played in back-to-back years in 1986 and 1987, with the Cornhuskers winning 27-24 in Columbia and 30-21 in Nebraska.

Spurrier said the Capital One Bowl is noted for being one of the best bowls to go to with all the Orlando-area attractions.

“We’ll have our fun but when it’s time to play we’ll be ready,” quarterback Connor Shaw said Sunday night.

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