Gameday Preview: Orange Bowl

Orange Bowl

So the Mountaineers have reached the Orange Bowl in Miami, FL to play the ACC Champion, the Clemson Tigers (or the “Clempsum Taterheads.”)

The Mountaineers attained a record of 9-3 and a share of the Big Least Championship, and due to the 3-way tie in the “conference”, the rules defer to the BCS rankings, and WVU had the highest BCS rank of Cincinnati and Loserville.

Meanwhile, Clemson found some magic this season due to, I don’t know, beating the always-overrated Virginia Tech twice in ACC play. Once during the regular season and again in the ACC Championship game. While Clemson got the ACC’s default BCS spot, Virginia Tech got lucky and landed in the Sugar Bowl, screwing Kansas State out of that game.

Anyway, like we’ve done all season, we the staff bring you our separate thoughts. While The Deuce is no longer a part of this site, he still took time out of his schedule to finish up the season with us. Also, I’d like to welcome Amy, Josh, and Tyler to the group preview. And, for the final game this season (and hopefully win #10, something the last coach couldn’t achieve), away we go!

Jeremy (@SlangBus)

Editor’s note: I’d like to thank Jeremy for providing the Holgorsen captions throughout the season. Soon, we will devote a separate page to them, including the never-before-seen Marshall one.

Because I don’t follow the middle of the bottom of the ACC, I can’t claim to know a ton about Clemson. So I did some research. It appears Sammy Watkins is very fast, Chad Morris calls a great game, and Dabo Swinney is a loud mouthed taint. Dabo likes to yell and holler like he’s a pro wrestler, which will make it all the better when Dana hands him a training bra at mid-field, Nature Boy style. WVU 57 Clemson 35

Josh (@FlynWV)

With the Orange bowl looming, everyone is trying to get in their final predictions, so I figured I would follow suit. After pouring over all the numbers and listening to the national media hand out their predictions, two things are evident: One, everybody is picking Clemson, and two, these teams appear to be mirror images of each other……..notice I said “appear”! WVU comes in RK 20th in points for, averaging 34.9 a game, while giving up 26.3 a game. Clemson comes in RK 24th in points for, averaging 33.6 a game, while giving up 26.2 a game. Special teams are almost dead even, but I give WVU a slight edge. That’s largely due to kickoff, and punt returns. Seems equal right? Wrong! The average defense that Clemson faced was 54th, while the average defense that WVU faced was 46th. The Mountaineers faced respectable defenses down the stretch, and the Tigers did not. The only wild card for Clemson is VT. It’s also worth mentioning that Holgorsen is 4-1 in bowls as the O/C.  It will be a close one early, but WVU pulls away in the 3rd.

Amy (@amydj79)

It all comes down to the Orange Bowl for the Mountaineers. It has definitely been a season to remember for Mountaineer Nation. First, it turns out that having a coach in waiting is a really bad idea. Who saw that coming? Then came the conference shakeup after Pittsburgh and Syracuse decided to leave for the ACC. After lots of speculation, ups and downs, WVU found a much better home in the B12.

It took a few weeks to know if the Mountaineers would end up in a BCS game, but with some help, they pulled it off. Now it is time to represent for the Big East, one last time, against the ACC champion Clemson Tigers. Most of the nation, as usual, doesn’t believe that the Mountaineers have a chance, but we, the greatest fans on the face of the planet, do believe.

There are a few things that the Mountaineers will have to do to win. Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, and Andre Ellington will keep the defense busy. Boyd had 3578 yards of total offense and 31 touchdowns. Watkins comes into the game averaging 15 yards per play and Ellington has had over a thousand yards rushing this season. On the other hand, Clemson’s defense isn’t going to have an easy road with the likes of Geno Smith, Tavon Austin, and Stedman Bailey. Smith is 22 yards away from a 4,000 yard season. Austin and Bailey each have over 1,000 receiving yards.

The run game hasn’t produced a lot of yardage for the Mountaineers this season. Dustin Garrison led the team with 742 yards and 6 touchdowns but suffered a season ending knee injury in practice on Friday. The loss of Garrison saddens me. This kid worked hard all season to help us get to this point and can only watch from the sidelines. However, the Mountaineers should be good with Shawne Alston in the backfield. He only carried for 339 yards this season but scored 10 touchdowns.

West Virginia’s defense has improved throughout the season. In the last three games of the season the Mountaineers racked up 14 sacks and allowed an average of 22.7 points per game. The loss of safety Terence Garvin may be most problematic for the defense to overcome. Adversity doesn’t mean doom. It just means someone has to step up. There are a lot of experienced leaders on defense, Irvin, Goode, Tandy, and J. Miller to name a few. This leadership will only benefit the defenses ability to contain the Tigers.

Special teams will also play a key role in this game. It is no secret that the Mountaineers have struggled at times, the Louisville and Pittsburgh games come to mind, but a blocked field goal during the Cincinnati game helped us get here.

I imagine this game will be a shootout but only one team carries a gun.

WVU 38, Clemson 35

Dwayne (@ImTheSportsDude)

WVU- 35, Clemson- 31 Also check out: Brad Nessler apparently failed Geography 101

Jim (@WVUJim, @hailWV)

Wow… the last football game of the season, and WVU’s last football game as a member of the often-scorned Big East Conference. Being a bit of a Gamecocks fan also, I’ve already developed some hatred for Clemson and those sub-human taterheads.

But, since Amy took care of the bulk of the preview, and others like Jeremy and Tyler went above and beyond the call of duty for tonight, I’m just going to say a few bits and pieces about the season and the Orange Bowl.

Nobody wanted WVU in the Orange Bowl… John Marinatto doesn’t want us here, Louisville doesn’t want us here (for the record, their retarded and delusional fanbase can go straight and irreversibly to hell), and least of all, Clemson doesn’t want us here.

Which WVU team will show up tonight? The one that logged all those yards and stats against LSU, or the one that took a huge dump against Syracuse? I’m obviously hoping the one that showed up against LSU does, obviously. Had LSU not had exceptional special teams, I honestly think WVU would have beaten LSU.

But, enough of that… I cannot wait to shut Dabo’s Weeney up tonight. I’m hoping Geno, Tavon, Stedman, and Alston step up tonight, and Alston especially, pick up Dustin “G-Money” Garrison’s slack.

WVU- 35
CLEM- 34


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