No Shortage of Orange
There will be orange as far as the eye can see in Hard Rock Stadium on Friday night. No. 6 Tennessee and No. 7 Clemson collide in the Orange Bowl, which will be the first New Year’s Six game. The Volunteers come off an impressive 56-0 win over Vanderbilt, while the Tigers are 3-1 against the spread (ATS) in the last four games.
Unfortunately, several potential first-round NFL prospects have opted out. However, we will get a glimpse at both programs’ future as they start their potential starting quarterbacks for the 2023 season. Which team will celebrate a win with a bowl full of oranges?
Let’s check the latest college football odds, stats, injury reports and college football lines for Tennessee vs Clemson. We’ve plenty of NCAA football odds for you to consider.
Preview of Tennessee’s QB Competition
The season did not end how Tennessee hoped. Week 12’s 63-38 loss against South Carolina was crushing, as it ended the Volunteers’ playoff hopes and starting quarterback Hendon Hooker suffered a season-ending knee injury.
In the final week of the regular season, Tennessee showed what it’s made of by dismantling Vanderbilt, which had won back-to-back SEC games. The Volunteers come in motivated, going 2-1 ATS in their last three games. Tennessee is hoping to capture its first major bowl win since 2004.
The offense has a dilemma against Clemson’s top-10 run defense. It would like to run more often to put less pressure on quarterback Joe Milton, especially with the opt-outs of star wide receivers Jalin Hyatt (1,267 yards) and Cedric Tillman (417 yards). The Tigers’ elite run defense may force Milton to throw often. Clemson ranks 65th in allowed passing yards per game.
Milton’s start will begin Tennessee’s QB competition for next season, as he will compete with incoming five-star freshman Nicholaus Iamaleava in the offseason. Milton gets the first crack at it with his huge arm. Check out this clip of Milton launching an orange across the field.
How far can Joe throw an orange 🍊 ❓@OrangeBowl @Qbjayy7 #GBO 🍊 pic.twitter.com/lEP9aUTEJm
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) December 22, 2022
Klubnik Era Begins for Clemson
All eyes will be on freshman five-star quarterback Cade Klubnik. This is officially his team going forward after D.J. Uiagalelei transferred to Oregon State. Klubnik had gone in and out through the season but finally got extended playing time in the ACC Championship Game. Uiagalelei was quickly pulled and Klubnik shined by completing 20 of 24 passes for 279 passing yards.
Klubnik should have started earlier. The Tigers could have avoided Week 13’s 31-30 loss to South Carolina, which ended their playoff hopes. Clemson’s statement 39-10 win and cover against North Carolina in championship week was a statement with Klubnik at the helm.
Like Tennessee, the Tigers will be without several key players. Defensive Myles Murphy, who projects as a top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, opted out. Plus, linebacker Trenton Simpson (second with 73 tackles) is another potential first-rounder that opted out. Clemson’s depth in the front seven will be tested, especially following defensive end Xavier Thomas’ season-ending foot injury and the transfer of defensive end Kevin Swint.
Fortunately, star defensive tackles Tyler Davis and Bryan Bresee, vital pieces of the dominant run defense, will play. Defensive end K.J. Henry, who has 3.5 sacks, will need to step up.
Tennessee vs Clemson Game Injuries
Tennessee vs Clemson Head-to-Head
Tennessee leads the series with a 10-6-2 record. However, the two have only met once since 1976. Clemson won the last matchup 27-14 in the 2003 Peach Bowl.
Tennessee vs Clemson Game Information
- Game: Tennessee vs Clemson
- Date: Friday, Dec. 30th
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
- Tennessee vs Clemson Live Stream: ESPN
Tennessee vs Clemson Betting Lines
Tennessee vs Clemson Picks & Prediction
Tennessee is at a major disadvantage without receivers Hyatt and Tillman. Without Hooker, the Volunteers’ passing attack could struggle behind Milton, who has thrown for less than 150 passing yards with a completion percentage under 55% in his last two starts. Clemson ranks eighth in allowed rushing yards per game, which could force Tennessee to throw it often.
The Tigers will be without Murphy and Simpson but still have plenty of talent in the front seven. Bresee, Davis and Henry are NFL talents on the defensive line. Clemson’s star defensive tackles will limit the run game. Plus, quarterback Klubnik looked great last game and goes against Tennessee’s 127th-ranked pass defense. Take the Tigers to win with a cover.
For the total, the over is promising. Clemson has scored at least 30 points in four consecutive games. Tennessee has gone over in two of the last three and has scored at least 38 points in three straight.
Clemson is listed at -210 in our Vegas college football lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Tigers, you have a chance to win $48. Tennessee is +175, offering a chance to win $175 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Clemson a 67.74% chance to win, with the Volunteers at 36.36%.