Matchup: No. 7 Ohio State (12-1) vs. No. 12 Clemson (10-2).
Time & TV: 8:30 p.m., ESPN.
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami.
Line: Ohio State by 5.
Series record: Clemson leads, 1-0.
What’s at stake: Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has a chance to win his fifth BCS game in as many tries, and with a third different school. A top-five finish in the national rankings is there for the taking by the Buckeyes. For Clemson, which has won only five of its last 16 bowl appearances, maybe the biggest opportunity that comes on Friday is a chance to forever move past the Orange Bowl debacle of two years ago, when the Tigers lost 70-33 to West Virginia.
Key matchup: Clemson DE Vic Beasley vs. Ohio State LT Jack Mewhort. This game might be Beasley’s finale with the Tigers, and if he leaves, he might be leaving a game too late for the Buckeyes’ liking. He’s the prototypical disruptive defensive end, though will be lined up against an elite player in Mewhort.
Players to watch: Ohio State — RB Carlos Hyde carried the ball 183 times this season for the Buckeyes. He lost yardage on exactly two of those carries. With more than 1,400 yards in just 10 games, and averaging nearly 8 yards per rush, Hyde will surely test the Tigers. Clemson — QB Tajh Boyd makes everything on offense click for Clemson, and in his final collegiate game, he’ll likely be inspired to make quite a finishing statement. He completes more than two-thirds of his passes, threw for 29 touchdowns and ran for nine more, and completes 73 percent of his first-down passes.
Facts & figures: The teams’ only previous meeting was in the 1978 Gator Bowl; Clemson won 17-15 in what would be Woody Hayes’ final game as coach of the Buckeyes — and best remembered by him punching Clemson LB Charlie Bauman after a game-sealing interception. ... Ohio State is 24-1 under Meyer. ... The ACC is 3-6 so far in bowls this season, the Big Ten is 2-4.