HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — The last time Ohio State and Clemson got together in a bowl game, Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes punched a Tigers player and was fired the next day.
On Wednesday at the Orange Bowl news conference, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Clemson counterpart Dabo Swinney traded compliments, praising each other's teams.
Clemson won the previous meeting, 17-15 in the 1978 Gator Bowl. In that game, Hayes punched Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman after he intercepted a late pass.
Meyer has led the Buckeyes to a 12-1 record this year, losing to Michigan State 34-24 on Saturday night in the Big Ten championship game. Clemson lost two games this season, to top-ranked Florida State and the regular- season finale to South Carolina.
"This is a great reward for another excellent season," Swinney said at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel. "It's great to be competing against a great quality opponent like Ohio State.
"I don't have any doubt that this will be a great matchup."
Meyer offered similar praise, saying: "Ohio State hasn't been here in a long time and we have a lot of fans in South Florida. I think Clemson and my good friend Dabo Swinney will be a great opponent and it should be an exciting game."
At stake for Meyer is a chance to finish a fourth season at 13-1 since 2006. Meyer is the first coach to lead three different teams - Utah, Florida and Ohio State - to a BCS Bowl game.
It's been a two-year magical run," Meyer said. "We experienced some incredible success over the last two years and we're going to try and get our 13th win.