The Clemson Tigers stunned ACC favorites Virginia Tech to earn their first Discover Orange Bowl bid in 20 years. In the other corner, the West Virginia Mountaineers won a three-way tiebreaker to take home the Big East title and the default BCS berth that goes with it. It’ll be a battle of great offenses down in Miami Gardens. We examine who’s most likely to prevail.
Bowl Game: (Discover) Orange Bowl
Location: Miami Gardens, Fla.
First Year: 1935
2012 Participants: Clemson Tigers (10-3) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (9-3)
Last Meeting: 1989, a 27-7 Gator Bowl win by Clemson
Clemson (previous bowl game: 31-26 loss to USF in 2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl)
For much of the 2011 season, the surprising Tigers sported the ACC’s most electrifying offensive attack. With All-ACC quarterback Tajh Boyd at the helm, and star freshman Sammy Watkins catching passes, the team raced out to an 8-0 start, averaging over 40 points per game in that span. Though the team struggled through the year’s final four regular season games (going 1-3), they still managed to recapture their previous magic in the ACC title game against Virginia Tech. Propelled by a swarming defensive front and a relentless passing assault, they cruised to a 38-10 victory. And while it was an impressive, unexpected victory, it shouldn’t cloud the obvious flaws in this Tigers team. Continue reading