PHOENIX (WIS) - The ROY bus made the long trip to Phoenix with Clemson players and coaches on board.
For some, Clemson is believed to be the team that could be the most dangerous in the College Football Playoff. However, the committee saw fit to place the Tigers as the tournament’s No. 3 seed. It’s a point that the Tigers aren’t harping on, but they also know it gives them another chance to show the world they’re better than the number next to their name.
“It gives us a little fuel and something to work for. If people think we're the third-best team, so that's just how it's going to be until we prove it. Since we've got the opportunity, we're not upset. We're happy to be here and happy to have the opportunity to prove ourselves.”
Clemson has won 28 straight games dating back to last season and they’re looking to capture their next victory against No. 2 Ohio State. In total, the Tigers took on just two ranked opponents this season. Or, in the words of pundits on social media, “they haven’t played anybody.” For weeks, Clemson has heard the rhetoric and it’s just another thing the Tigers will pocket for motivation.
“A lot of people think we're not supposed to be here,” said Tigers linebacker Isaiah Simmons. “So I guess it's more to prove them wrong because, apparently, we didn't play anyone. That's been the rhetoric out there. I would probably say, yeah, we've got a chip on our shoulder, something to play for.”
While that is a motivating factor for the Tigers, the ultimate motivator is winning a second straight national title and all that comes with it.
“Nobody’s been 30-0 ever with back-to-back CFP national championships,” Simmons said. “So to make history would be awesome. We made a lot of history this year, just within our team, and I think a couple nationally. Just making history is really cool. It’s not something that happens all the time. That’s why it’s history. To do that and, obviously, it would be nice to leave my last game with a win.”
Clemson will face Ohio State on Saturday at State Farm Stadium at 8 p.m. in the Fiesta Bowl.