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- American football player
The Acosta Bridge in Jacksonville, Florida, has already been lit up this year in Clemson orange and purple.
It could happen again.
Jacksonville did that on the eve of the NFL draft, April 28, when the Jaguars were set to take Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick. They took two Tigers in that first round, in fact, also selecting running back Travis Etienne.
So it would be fitting for Jacksonville, a city that has become linked to Clemson and its football fans, to welcome the Tigers for a bowl game. And that seems a likely destination now that they have fallen short of the ACC championship game but are 9-3 after a 30-0 win Saturday at South Carolina.
Experts are predicting that Clemson will play in Jacksonville’s Gator Bowl at 11 a.m. on Dec. 31 in a warm-up to the national semifinals later that day, which is as close as the Tigers can come to the prestigious New Year’s Six. Fan bases are taken into consideration by bowl selection comm, and Clemson faithful would certainly travel to Jacksonville to see their team take on an SEC opponent.
The ACC is affiliated with three bowl games considered in the first tier below the national semifinals games, Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl, as well as the Peach Bowl, a New Year’s Six game in Atlanta. Peach would feature the winner of the ACC title game between Pitt and Wake Forest.
Landing spots for the ACC loser and the next highest finishers, Clemson and N.C. State, would go to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego (Dec. 28), the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando, Florida (Dec. 29) and the Gator Bowl. Whether it’s Jacksonville or Orlando, the Tigers seem destined for Florida.
The ACC also has tie-ins for what are considered second-tier games Dec. 29 at the Pinstripe Bowl in New York, Dec. 30 at the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte and Dec. 31 in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. Lower-level games are the Military Bowl (Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland); Fenway Bowl (Dec. 29 in Boston); Gasparilla Bowl (Dec. 23 in Tampa, Florida); Birmingham Bowl (Dec. 28); and First Responders Bowl (Dec. 28 in Dallas).
Official announcement of pairings will go out Dec. 5, the day after conference championships.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Clemson football could be headed to Jacksonville and Gator Bowl 2021