COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS/WCSC) - For some football fans, their journey to the desert began at Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
Billy James and Todd Elliott were on their way to catch the Clemson Tigers in the Fiesta Bowl. The No. 3 Tigers are facing off against No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes.
James and Elliott have been to other playoff games before.
“It’s getting kind of expensive, but it’s an expense we’re glad to spend,” Elliott said.
They said they aren't taking their team's success for granted.
“We understand it’s lightning in a bottle for us," James said. “We’re just excited to have the opportunity to travel and see them play.”
Keosha Scott is also headed to Arizona for the game. She graduated from Clemson in 2014 and is really excited to soak in the atmosphere. This is her first playoff game.
She said she believes the Tigers are being underestimated, despite the team having an undefeated record this year.
“We have a lot of people who don’t believe in us," she said. "How many times do we have to beat people for people to believe in us?”
Scott wants to see her Tigers shut down the Buckeyes like they did in 2016. Clemson won that match-up in the Fiesta Bowl 31-0 and went on to defeat Alabama in the National Championship Game.
“I keep hearing people say it’s going to be a blowout. I hope it is," she said. “I hope we blow them out, seriously.”
Neutral fans, like Gwyn Aldridge, who are making the 2,000 mile trip hope it’s a close game.
“I’m excited to see how they’re going to handle the athleticism of each other because they are both top notch teams,” she said.
Game time is 8 p.m. Saturday. The other national semifinal between No. 1 LSU Tigers and No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners kicks off at 4 p.m.
The winner of the Fiesta Bowl will play the winner of the Peach Bowl for the National Championship trophy in New Orleans on Jan. 13.