No. 6 Tennessee football will play Clemson in an all-orange battle in the Orange Bowl.
It will be played on Dec. 30 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami as one of the New Year's Six bowls, the biggest games outside the College Football Playoff. The announcement came Sunday after Ohio State, a potential suitor for the Orange Bowl, was selected to the College Football Playoff.
After No. 1 Georgia was selected in the CFP and No. 5 Alabama got the Sugar Bowl, the next highest ranked team in the SEC landed the Orange Bowl bid.
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That's how Tennessee (10-2) got there after earning 10 victories in a regular season for the first time since 2003. Clemson (11-2) clinched an Orange Bowl spot after beating North Carolina 39-10 in the ACC title game.
Tennessee ranks No. 1 in scoring offense (47.3 ppg) and total offense (538.1 ypg). But quarterback Hendon Hooker, a Heisman Trophy candidate, is out with a torn ACL. Clemson ranks No. 17 in scoring defense (20.1 ppg) and No. 2 in tackles-for-loss (103).
This will be Tennessee's fifth appearance in the Orange Bowl. The Vols lost to Nebraska following the 1997 season in Peyton Manning's final game. They also beat Oklahoma following the 1938 season, lost to Rice in the 1946 season and lost to Oklahoma to cap the 1967 season.
Heupel won the 2001 national championship in the Orange Bowl as Oklahoma's quarterback by beating Florida State.
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This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Tennessee football to play Clemson in Orange Bowl to cap Josh Heupel's second season