Clemson in Orange Bowl

In Sports on December 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm

By: Drew Marshall

Their first victory in the Orange Bowl was in 1981 for the national championship, and Clemson hopes to bring victory to the university again. Photo courtesy of Google images

As Clemson prepares for the Orange Bowl on January 4, fans and enemies speculate about their chances for victory. Coming off a blowout of Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game, Clemson is looking primed for the game against West Virginia. The Tigers hope to keep the ball rolling, as they try to bring the university its first Orange Bowl win since their national championship victory at the bowl in 1981.

            The individual players are also facing a tough matchup against a tough WVU team. Quarterback Tajh Boyd will face off against opposing quarterback Geno Smith, both of whom have thrown for more than 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. Both offenses have shown that they can score points when necessary, and it looks like the coming bowl game will be a high-scoring affair. Clemson ranks 27in the nation in scoring offense, while WVU ranks 18. However, Clemson has shown at times during the season that their offense is sometimes incapable of producing points, like in the South Carolina rivalry game.

            The way that both teams came into the game was very different. Clemson’s finish to the season was rocky at first, with a big loss to USC. However, Clemson recovered in the ACC championship. WVU had to win a few key games near the end of the season to clinch the Big East Conference. WVU defeated Cincinnati 24-21, along with a late win against Pittsburgh. Even after this, the only reason that WVU is in the Orange Bowl is because they won the tie-break over Louisville and Cincinnati, decided by the higher BCS ranking. Due to the way they got into the bowl, many people may be thinking that they are not near the caliber of a Clemson team that earned their way in. Clemson is also highly motivated, since this is their first trip to the Orange Bowl since 1981. “This is the site of our programs’ greatest moment and we’ve been wandering in the desert for a long time since.” Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney stated.

            The game is sure to bring plenty of speculation prior to kickoff. Both teams have high-powered offenses, but it will likely be the defense that decides the game. Clemson has shown that their defense has holes, while WVU has struggled to win recently, partially due to their lack of defensive protection. Both teams also come to the bowl game through different forms of qualification. WVU won in the regular-season-based Big East Conference, while Clemson won in the decisive championship game of the ACC. This game may speak for more than just these two schools, but if WVU is the best team to be in the bowl. Since they did not qualify by their own merit in a championship game, WVU will have to prove that they can hang with a high –caliber team like Clemson on January 4.

  1. If Clemson plays their A game they can take care of the Mountaineers, but with us you never know who will come to play. If we come out like we did against NC State then it’ll be ugly. I think a close game may be the most surprising outcome.

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