2012 Orange Bowl Preview

By Paul Grossinger

West Virginia (9-3) vs. Clemson (10-3)

There are sexy matchups"¦and then there is the Orange Bowl. Tied up in agreements with the Big East and ACC conferences, the Orange Bowl has played out some of the worst matchups in recent years. This may be the worst: a 10-3 Clemson team that lost to both North Carolina State and Georgia Tech this year and a 9-3 West Virginia team with eyesore defeats to Louisville and Syracuse. However, while the matchup isn't sexy, these two teams are well-matched so it could end up a tough, relatively even game.

Clemson is explosive, featuring one of the nation's most dynamic offenses. The Tigers crushed ACC rival Virginia Tech twice this season and averaged over 30 points per game in wins over Tech, Florida State, and Auburn. But, Clemson is vulnerable to dynamic, unorthodox offenses, which could present problems against West Virginia.

For its part, West Virginia is a solid team with dynamic offensive moments and a capable defense. Though far removed from their Rich Rodriguez glory days, the Mountaineers still pose a threat when matched against another solid, unspectacular opponent like Clemson. Look for West Virginia to pull out its unorthodox offensive playbook and try to control the clock against the Tigers but, for all the potential evenness, this still looks like the Tigers game to lose.

Clemson Tiger
Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd (10) drops back to pass in the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 31-17 victory over the Clemson Tigers at Bobby Dodd Stadium / Grant Field in Atlanta, GA.

Prediction: Clemson Wins

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