After a loss to Michigan State, who then bet Stanford in the Rose Bowl, Ohio State's dreams of a national title were flushed down the drain.
An early season loss to Georgia made it hard for Clemson to battle it's way back into the top tier in the rankings, but a loss to Florida State sealed their fate. Both coming in as at-large bids, the two teams have plenty of talent, even if it couldn't win them a conference.
(JR) Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson, #2
Rumored to be declaring, Watkins has many talking top ten. Considered to be the best pass-catcher in the class, Watkins out-shined Deandre Hopkins, the 27th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. With Boyd's help, the tandem connected for the most deep touchdown throws/receptions in ACC history. Watkins has all you could ask from a receiver, but elite height. He contests for balls, has strong has, and his speed has consistently beaten ACC corners.
(JR) Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson, #3
Rumored to be declaring, Beasley's been a bit of a one year wonder. Coming into the season, no one was talking about the Clemson pass-rusher, but only a couple games in, the hype started on the junior. As far as player comparisons, he's a lot like Bruce Irvin, who surprisingly was a first round pick in 2012. Can Beasley go in the first round? Going against a top five line will help us gauge that.
(JR) Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State, #1
Already stating his intentions to declare early, Roby hasn't had the best season in 2013, but he's improved. While his numbers in certain games (like Wisconsin) aren't great, as a player, he's cleaned up and refined his talents. An interesting situation for him is to play a Malcolm Jenkins, another former Buckeye, type of safety role at the next level. If reported times are any indication, he should pass every height/weight/speed tests at the combine with flying colors. Unforunately, he won't be playing in this game.
(JR) Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State, #2
First rumored to be going back, it seems like Shazier will be declaring for the 2014 NFL Draft. Potentially the second pure linebacker off the board, after Alabama's C.J. Mosley, Shazier received a second round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board.
Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State, #34
After an early suspension kept him off the field, Hyde's made one of the biggest leaps for a senior prospect in 2013. A Day 3 selection, if drafted, coming into the season, he's now in conversations for the top running back off the board, now that Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon has stated he'll return for the Badgers' 2014 season. Todd Gurley ran for 154 yards and two scores against Clemson, it wouldn't be a stretch to think Hyde could match or do better than those marks. As of recently, he's drawn Eddie Lacy, potential Rookie of the Year candidate, comparisons.
Others to Watch:
(JR) Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State, #10
Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State, #74
Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson, #10
Brandon Thomas, OT, Clemson, #63
(JR) Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson, #1