The BCS bowl season continues Wednesday night with the Orange Bowl, pitting the Clemson Tigers against the West Virginia Mountaineers. The game is scheduled for a 8:30 pm kickoff and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds have Clemson favored from 3 points with the total being set at 62.5 points. The Rose, Fiesta and even the Sugar Bowl have dominated the talk about the BCS bowls, but Dana Holgorsen and Chad Morris are two of the most brilliant offensive minds in the game so this could be one of the most entertaining bowls of the season.
Free Analysis: Dana Holgorsen's first season in Morgantown has been a huge success, as West Virginia went 9-3, winning three straight to close out the regular season and finish with a share of the Big East crown and its third BCS bowl bid in school history. West Virginia has gone 4-2 SU but 2-3 ATS vs bowl teams this year, while they have gone 4-1 SU and 3-1-1 ATS on the road this year and they are 2-0 SU & ATS in their only 2 BCS bowls they played in. The Mountaineers possess a dynamic offense that is predicated on the pass. The team finished the season ranked seventh nationally in passing at 341.8 yards per game. Quarterback Geno Smith had a huge season, completing 65 percent of his throws, for almost 4,000 yards (3,978), with 25 TDs and just seven INTs. The top recipients of Smith's production are Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Smith and Austin were All-Big East First-Team members, while Bailey landed on the second-team. Austin hauled in a school-record 89 receptions this season, for 1,063 yards and four TDs. Bailey hauled in 67 balls and set school-records with 1,197 yards and 11 TDs. The ground game played a distant second-fiddle in the offense, but both Dustin Garrison (5.5 ypc, six TDs) and Shawne Alston (4.4 ypc, 10 TDs) certainly kept defenses honest. West Virginia's defense certainly wasn't as productive as the offense in 2011. The Mountaineers gave up a generous 26.2 ppg and they will face a tough test vs a strong Clemson offense tonight. The Tigers certainly bring offensive firepower into this contest and have displayed big play ability as well. The team is averaging just over 440 yards of total offense per game, with a great mix of the run (155.8 ypg) and the pass (284.8 ypg). The emergence of sophomore quarterback Tahj Boyd is the main reason that Clemson is playing in a BCS bowl game. The Clemson gunslinger has completed 60.5 percent of his passes this season, for 3,578 yards, with 31 TDs. A lot of that production went the way of freshman sensation Sammy Watkins, as the young wideout grabbed 77 balls, for 1,153 yards and 11 TDs. Fellow WR DeAndre Hopkins (62 catches, 871 yards, four TDs) gives Boyd a viable second option down the field. The Tigers also have the ability to run the ball, headlined by tailback Andre Ellington, who rumbled for 1,062 yards and 10 TDs this season. The Clemson defense was a step or two behind the offense in terms of production in 2011, allowing 379.4 ypp and 26.2 ppg, while they had trouble at times stopping the run (176.5 ypg). This is Clemson's 7th consecutive Bowl (First BCS Bowl) and they have gone 2-4 SU at 1-5 ATS in the first 6 and they have faced 9 bowl teams this year, going 6-3 and 5-4 ATS in those games. Clemson won the only other meeting between these two programs, a 27-7 victory in 1989 in Jacksonville.
Free Pick: Points, points and more points. That should be the theme tonight. You have two offensive minded coaches with plenty of firepower at their disposal, going up against two mediocre defenses. Tajh Boyd leads Clemson's fast-paced offense, and is one of two dynamic quarterbacks in this game. Boyd and West Virginia's Geno Smith combined to throw for 7,556 yards and 56 touchdowns - the edge in yardage going to Smith with Boyd tossing six more TD passes. Smith, a Miami-area native, has already broken single-season school records for attempts (483), completions (314) and total passing yards (3,978) with one game remaining and let's remember that Holgorsen's last 2 stops were at Oklahoma State and Houston and we know what those offenses have done. Tahj Boyd has been superb as well this year as he has completed 60.5 percent of his passes this season, for 3,578 yards, with 31 TDs. Two issues for both teams has been tackling in space defending mobile quarterbacks. While Boyd and Smith aren’t the quickest guys in the world, they can scramble out of the pocket. Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey are all incredibly elusive—Austin and Watkins are both in the Top 5 nationally in all-purpose yards. With both teams relying so heavily on the pass, those receivers will get a lot of action. This should be a very exciting game with little defense. I expect around 70 points here as we go with the Over.