Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Boomer's 2012 Orange Bowl Preview

Preview: 2012 Orange Bowl 78th edition “South Beach Thriller”

            Date/Time: January 4, 2012 8:30 PM (EST)

            West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Clemson Tigers Favorite: Clemson by 3.5
                                    (9-3)                              (10-3)
            All-Time Series: Clemson 1-0 (Last: 1989 Gator Bowl, Tigers 27-7)

Boomer’s Four Keys on squeezing the “Oranges”:

1)     Geno Smith vs. Tajh Boyd

Lets first start off talking about Geno Smith. Leader of the Mountaineers offense, Geno accounted for 3,978 passing yards (8th in the nation) throwing 25 TD’s (26th in the nation) to only 9 INT’s. Standing 6’3’’ 214 lbs., he uses his height and strength to direct a Passing Attack that ranks 7th in the nation (342 yards/per game). Tajh, (could you get two better first names to match-up) in his first season as the Tigers starting QB directed the Tigers offense to 441 offensive total yards per/game (27th in the nation). Tajh’s individual numbers were up there as well, 3,578 passing yards and 31 TD’s (12th in the nation, 11th in the nation). I’m picking youth over experience in this match-up.
Advantage: Clemson

2)     WVU WR’s vs. Clemson Secondary

In an offense that passed the ball for 342 yards a game, the Mountaineers had two WR’s reach the 1,000-yard mark on the season. Leading the Mountaineers in receiving, Stedman Bailey had 1,197 rec. yards (WVU school record) and 11 TD’s (19th in the nation, 15th in the nation). Right behind Bailey the Mountaineers #2 WR Tavon Austin had 1,063 yards (32nd in the nation) and 4 TD’s. It will be interesting to watch this game and see if these two guys have big games against a unit that gave up 203 passing yards per/game (35th in the nation) and had 13 interceptions (1 per/game). It will be tough for the Tigers to take both receivers out of the game. Advantage: West Virginia

3)     Clemson WR’s vs. WVU Secondary

On the flip side, the Tigers also have some athletic receivers on the outside. Led by frosh phenom Sammy Watkins, 1,153 receiving yards (23rd in the nation) and 11 TD’s (15th in the nation), Tigers offense had three receivers with 500-plus yards on the season. West Virginia has had trouble in the passing game giving up 200-plus yards 6 times this season. In a game that I feel will have a lot of scoring, defense’s will struggle on both sides. Advantage: Clemson

4)     Dana Holgorsen vs. Dabo Swinney

Dana Holgorsen, in his 1st season as West Virginia’s Head Coach, led WVU to its 7th Big East Championship. Coach Holgorsen came over from Oklahoma State were he was the offensive coordinator. Coach Holgorsen, Mountaineers didn’t have a problem scoring points 35 points per/game (19th in the nation). However, the Mountaineers defense gave up almost just as many 26.3 points per/game (62nd in the nation). On the other side of the field, Dabo Swinney led the Tigers to their 14th ACC championship (First since 1991). Dabo is 1-2 in bowl games, after taking over for Tommy Bowden mid-way through the 2008 season.  Coach Swinney’s offense scores 34 points per/game (24th in the nation) while the defense gives up almost as many 26.2 points per game (61st in the nation). It will be interesting to see how each Head Coach handles coaching in their 1st BCS bowl games. Advantage: Toss-Up

Prediction: Clemson 37, West Virginia 34. (Side note MNF crew will be doing the play-by-play of this game, love me some Tirico, Jaworski, and Gruden.)