West Virginia vs. Clemson 2012 Orange Bowl Predictions: The 2012 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida, looks like it has a competitive match-up with the Clemson Tigers, winners of the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference football championship and West Virginia. The Mountaineers get the BCS bid by tie breaker rule, sharing the Big East title with Louisville and Cincinnati. Dana Holgorsen coached the Mountaineers to a BCS bowl in his first year, completing the regular season schedule with a 9-3 record. Dabo Swinney is winding up his fourth year at Clemson where he’s 29-18. The Orange Bowl’s participants are the lowest ranked of all the 2012 BCS bowls with Clemson ranked No. 15 in the BCS standings and West Virginia ranked No. 23. ESPN will televise the game starting at 8:30 pm ET.
Clemson is listed at sports-book JustBet.cx as a slight -3-point favorite on the off-shore College Football Odds board with a combined score total (over/under) of 62 1/2. Mountaineers backers are getting +130 odds ($100 wager to win $130) to win SU while a SU wager on the Tigers is priced at -150 ($150 wager to win $100).
Clemson has the nation’s 27th-ranked offense scoring 33.6 points per game and boasts of on of the most well-balanced attacks in the country. The Tigers have passed for more than 3,000 yards and run for more than 2,000. Also, Clemson has a 1,000-yard rusher (Andre Ellington) and a 1,000-yard receiver (Sammy Watkins) for just the third time in Tiger history. If the Mountaineers are to pull an upset, their defense will must figure out a way to stop, or at least slow down, Clemson Wide Receiver and ACC player of the year, Sammy Watkins, who has shattered the ACC single-season freshman receiving records for catches, receiving yards and touchdowns, all in nine games. With a big day against West Virginia, Watkins has a chance to make the ACC’s all-time single-season list in pass receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches. Tigers’ Sophomore Quarterback Tajh Boyd, the unanimous MVP of the ACC Championship Game, has been responsible for 36
touchdowns this season; the ACC record is 37.
West Virginia’s offense is equally as impressive as the Tigers’. Junior Quarterback Geno Smith is only 22 yards shy of becoming West Virginia’s first 4,000-yard passer and just the second quarterback ever to achieve that feat in Big East Conference history. Smith passed for a career-high 463 yards against top-ranked LSU, and has thrown for more than 300 yards seven times this season.
Smith, like his Clemson counterpart Boyd, has several options to go to in the passing game. Sophomore Stedman Bailey (1,197 yards) and junior Tavon Austin (1,063) became the first dual-1,000-yard receivers in school history, while sophomore Ivan McCartney shows 47 catches for 572 yards and three touchdowns, although his production has declined down the stretch. Most recently, J.D. Woods has been taking a lot of the reps McCartney got earlier in the year. The Mountaineers offense took a blow when its leading rusher, Freshman Tail Back Dustin Garrison sprained his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee; he also has a slight medial collateral ligament sprain in the same knee. The injury will keep him out of the game with Clemson.
Orange Bowl Prediction: I’ve noticed, for the most part, odds makers have been on the money setting the lines this bowl season. Again, Wednesday’s Orange Bowl is expected to be close, with Clemson favored by a field goal (-3). I believe West Virginia, with a limited running game, especially with Garrison out, will be too one-dimensional. If the Tigers defense can shut down the pass, the Mountaineers are in trouble. My Pick – Clemson -3.
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