Selection Sunday is here, and the No. 23 Clemson football team’s bowl projections continue to come into focus with a West Coast flavor.
Heading into this weekend’s conference championship games, nine of 12 national media members predicting bowl games had Clemson in the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl in San Diego, with Southern Cal (four predictions) and Oregon State (three) as its most likely opponent for the annual matchup between an ACC and Pac-12 team.
247Sports, CBS Sports, ESPN, The Athletic, The Action Network and Yahoo Sports are among the national media outlets whose writers are projecting Clemson to the Holiday Bowl, played in Petco Park, home of the MLB’s San Diego Padres.
Heading into Saturday’s conference title games, Clemson (8-4) also had two predictions to play in the Gator Bowl and one to play in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Final bowl projections should post overnight Saturday or early Sunday ahead of the College Football Playoff selection show starting at noon on ESPN.
The Tigers, though, have been getting connected to the Holiday Bowl — which features an ACC team and Pac-12 team playing each other in Petco Park — for weeks, and the bowl’s CEO said they’d “roll out the red carpet” for Clemson if it ends up there. The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel also wrote earlier this week that a Clemson-Southern Cal Holiday Bowl matchup was among those he was “most confident” in predicting among a 41-bowl game slate.
A matchup against the Trojans would place Clemson in an entertaining “Riley Bowl” matchup of Southern Cal head coach Lincoln Riley and his younger brother, Clemson offensive coordinator Garrett Riley. Southern Cal also features star quarterback Caleb Williams, the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, though it’s likely he’ll opt out of the game if he declares.
A Clemson-Oregon State matchup also offered some major intrigue until news broke early Thursday that former Tigers starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, who is now the starter at Oregon State, is entering the transfer portal.
Dabo Swinney’s team won its last four games, including a road win at rival South Carolina last weekend, to work its way into an upper-tier bowl position.
Clemson football 2023 bowl projections
As of Friday, Dec. 1 (this list will be updated)
247Sports: Holiday Bowl vs Oregon State (Brad Crawford)
Action Network: Holiday Bowl vs. Southern Cal (Brett McMurphy)
The Athletic: Holiday Bowl vs. Southern Cal (staff)
Athlon Sports: Holiday Bowl vs. Southern Cal (Steve Lassan)
CBS Sports: Holiday Bowl vs. Oregon State (Jerry Palm)
College Football News: Holiday Bowl vs. Utah (staff)
ESPN: Holiday Bowl vs. Oregon State (Mark Schlabach)
ESPN: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Rutgers (Kyle Bonagura)
Fox Sports: Holiday Bowl vs. Utah (Bryan Fischer)
Sporting News: Gator Bowl vs. Texas A&M (Bill Bender)
USA TODAY: Gator Bowl vs Tennessee (Erick Smith)
Yahoo Sports: Holiday Bowl vs. Southern Cal (Nick Bromberg)