clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Orange Bowl Preview: Clemson, West Virginia Close Out the Non-Championship BCS Bowls

Discover Orange Bowl, Jan. 4, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

What it is: The BCS game with the misfortune of always getting the ACC Champion

The Sponsor: A credit card company -- because they're so popular with the public right now

The Teams: West Virginia and Clemson

How West Virginia got here: By staying in the Big East until at least the end of this season. SEC fans last saw West Virginia getting shellacked in Morgantown by LSU. Since then, the Moutaineers managed to lose against Louisville and at Syracuse -- by 26 -- and yet win the Big East championship anyway, in a conference race that was even more scrambled than the usual Big East raffle. Dana Holgorsen's offense is about as far away from Rich Rodriguez's as you can get -- West Virginia was seventh in the nation in passing and 98th in the country in running the ball -- while the Mountaineers' defense did a fairly good job of limiting the yardage but allowed almost 26.3 points a game. Geno Smith was the nation's 24th-ranked quarterback in terms of passer efficiency. How much of that comes from facing a subpar Big East is open for speculation, but it's the best we've got to go on right now.

How Clemson got here: Despite a 2-3 finish to the season, though it helps that one of the wins was the second waxing of Virginia Tech in as many games against the Hokies. Clemson was actually -- and here I have to try not to vomit --a pretty good team and was undefeated for the first eight games of the season. Then came the loss at Georgia Tech just before Halloween, and the wheels seemed to come off. Clemson eked out a win against Wake Forest and then got clobbered by N.C. State and rival South Carolina in back-to-back weeks. Tajh Boyd powered a passing offense that generated almost 285 yards a game, with many of his throws going to Sammy Watkins, who had 77 receptions for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns. The problem is on the defensive side of the ball, where Clemson has allowed 31 or more points in five of its last seven games.

College football fans care because: This is the last BCS game before the national championship bout next week.

SEC fans care because: Um ... um ...

Watch this game if...: You want to watch a train wreck.

The result: Clemson 34, West Virginia 28