Wednesday, January 4, 2012

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2011: Discover Orange Bowl


Looks like the Sun Life Guys were successful in one place.


The When and Where:
Discover Orange Bowl, Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL January 4, 2012, 8:30 pm ET ESPN/ESPN3

The Who:
(23) West Virginia Mountaineers (9-3, 5-2 Big East) vs (15) Clemson Tigers (10-3, 6-2 ACC)



The Why:
The Orange Bowl's only official tie-in is with the ACC these days and hence why the Tigers, ACC champs, are in their very first BCS game. This marks the Tigers 7th straight bowl appearance and 34th overall where they have tallied a 16-17 record. The Orange Bowl decided to go back to it's roots a bit and tap a Big East team for the Tiger's opponent. This of course brought the winner of the three way tie for the Big East championship, West Virginia. The Mountaineers are heading to their 9th straight bowl game and 31st over all.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:
The Orange Bowl committee has flat out said they wanted this game for the offense. And that's what they will get. JR QB Gino Smith leads that potent Dana Holgerson passing attack. This year's version ranks 7th in pass and 19th in scoring putting up 34.9 ppg. Not that they ignore the run but at 98th overall they're using it more as a counter balance to the passing game than anything else. All that adds up to the 17th ranked total offense and 459.6 ypg.

Clemson isn't too shabby on offense either. SO QB Taj Boyd and electric FR WR Sammy Watkins bring an explosive Tiger offense to town. The 24th ranked scoring offense they average 33.6 ppg. They too rely on the passing game (21st for 284.8 ypg), but do run a little more frequently putting up 155.85 ppg (60th). They are just ten slots behind the 'Eers at 27th in total offense.

Defensively these two teams are fairly similar and nothing to get excited about. WVU is 62nd in score, 51st against the run, 30 against the pass and 26th in total defense. Where as Clemson is 61st in scoring, 82nd against the run, 35 against the pass and 61st in total defense. Both of these defenses strengths are against the pass, which makes for an intriguing match up. The key here will be if WVU can stop Watkins who is third in the nation in all purpose yards.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:
I met a girl from WVU once in Myrtle Beach. She ended up annoying the crap out of me. And I like it when I have no idea where a school is located. Go Tigers!

Vegas Edge:
The line opened with Clemson a 3.5 favorite and since has dropped to 3. Which probably has a lot to do with the last five games in which the Tigers have gone 1-4 ATS. They are 8-4 ATS on the season. So you could say they've had a bit of a slide. The Mountaineers in the meantime are just 6-5 ATS, so I think Clemson still has the edge. The O/U is 62 and I think we'll see a game that goes into the 70's for a total. So that may be your play.

Sweatpants Verdict:
Again I'm looking at a Big East team that I was less than impressed with week in and week out. But weird things happen in that month off, especially in a new system. But watching that VA Tech defense last night and seeing what Clemson did to them, I can't see them not shredding through the Mountaineers 3-3-5. I think Sammy Watkins has a Sammy Watkins type game, both teams make some mistakes early and have turnovers, but in the end Clemson is too much for WVU. Clemson 41-35

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