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Who plays in the Orange Bowl this year? Teams, date, schedule for New Year’s 6 bowl game

The Orange Bowl usually hosts an ACC team, and that’ll likely be the case on Jan. 2, 2021 despite two of that conference’s teams probably playing in the College Football Playoff.

In another year, maybe the Orange Bowl would get one of Notre Dame or Clemson onto its field. But unless there’s a shocker, the CFP committee will send both those teams to a national semifinal. That leaves the 87th annual Orange Bowl with North Carolina, probably, which is a sneak peak at Sam Howell before the quarterback makes his case for the 2022 No. 1 overall pick in the fall. The Orange Bowl will probably also bring an SEC team to proceedings this year, since two strong programs from that conference (Florida and Texas A&M) could miss the CFP.

The 2019 edition of the Orange Bowl was played between Florida and Virginia, with the Gators winning, 36-28. It’s been played with more than 60,000 fans every year since 1994, but that’ll likely be a greatly reduced number as COVID-19 numbers rise across the country.

Below, you’ll find the information you need to know about watching the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 2021, along with what to expect from the teams chosen to play in the game. 

When is the Orange Bowl 2021?

  • Date: Jan. 2
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV broadcast: ESPN
  • Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

The Orange Bowl has been held in Miami and Miami Gardens for the entirety of its existence. This year’s game will mark the 87th iteration of the end-of-season contest, with it taking place in its current stadium since 1996. 

Who plays in the Orange Bowl 2021?

The final College Football Playoff rankings release of the season takes place on Dec. 20 at noon ET. That’s when the participants in the 2021 Orange Bowl will be announced. 

Orange Bowl projections

Sporting News’ Bill Bender projected earlier this week that the Fiesta Bowl will feature Texas A&M vs. North Carolina. That’d be a juicy matchup for fans of high-end quarterback play, as the Aggies’ Kellen Mond would go up against UNC’s Sam Howell.

There’d also be some logic in Florida playing in this season’s Orange Bowl following the Gators’ berth in the SEC Championship against Alabama. Assuming Clemson and Notre Dame both make the College Football Playoff, it’d be hard for the committee to send a different ACC team than North Carolina to Miami Gardens. And even though two ACC teams are likely in the CFP semifinals, expect the Orange Bowl to bring an ACC team as that’s part of its usual brand.

Orange Bowl odds

Sporting News will have Orange Bowl odds when they become available.

Where is Orange Bowl being played in 2021?

The Orange Bowl is being played in the Miami area, as usual. It’s technically been played for the last 25 years in Miami Gardens, where Hard Rock Stadium is located.

There will be fans at the Orange Bowl, with Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis allowing Hard Rock Stadium to return to full capacity midway through the NFL season. The Dolphins have capped game attendance at 13,000, though, which unless there’s a further update will likely resemble attendance at the Orange Bowl. 

New Year’s Six Bowl schedule 2021

All of this year’s New Year’s Six Bowl games are televised on ESPN.

Date Bowl Matchup Time (ET)
Dec. 30 Cotton Bowl TBD 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 1 Peach Bowl TBD 12:30 p.m.
Jan. 1 Rose Bowl TBD 5:00 p.m.
Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl TBD 8:45 p.m.
Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl TBD 4:00 p.m.
Jan. 2 Orange Bowl TBD 8:00 p.m.

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