Orange Bowl Matchup: Clemson Tigers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Date/Time: January 3rd, 8:30 ET
Point Spread: Ohio State -3
The Clemson Tigers were always the second best team in the ACC this season, and they are going to get a shot to stick up for their conference for the second straight season when they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Orange Bowl in the fourth of the five BCS bowl games.
Clemson has never seemed to get over the hump of beating the big time teams in the big time games consistently. Sure, the team beat the LSU Tigers in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl last season, and sure, the team beat the Georgia Bulldogs in the first really big game of 2013, but in the end, when it came to trying to beat the South Carolina Gamecocks or the Florida State Seminoles, it just didn’t happen. QB Tajh Boyd has had a fantastic collegiate career, and he is going to try to cap it off with a big time bowl win. He threw for 3,473 yards and 29 TDs, and he rushed for nine more scores. The offense really starts and stops with Boyd, though WR Sammy Watkins has a lot to do with it as well. The team does everything it can to get the ball in Watkins’ hands as much as possible, and he had 85 catches, 1,237 yards, and 10 trips to the end zone this season.
The motivation for Ohio State to play this game is going to be very suspect at best, knowing that the team lost in the Big Ten Championship Game in bad fashion to the Michigan State Spartans. This is a much different type of a test for sure against a Clemson team which will try to run up and down the field with you, but it is still a very dangerous game for sure. It’s got to be all about the Ohio State defense in this game, as this unit is sure to be tested in a way which it hasn’t been tested this year. If the Bucks are giving up 34 to Michigan State and 40+ to the Michigan Wolverines, it’s a wonder what a good offense like Clemson’s is going to be able to put up in this one. The Buckeyes did only allow 21.3 points per game this year, but this is a much-maligned secondary, allowing 259.5 passing yards per game. On the other side of the ball, there is a heck of a lot of running with QB Braxton Miller and RB Carlos Hyde, the two of which combined for 24 TDs and just under 2,500 rushing yards this year. RB Jordan Hall will be off and running as well after he had 536 yards and eight TDs to boot.
Clemson has only played in one BCS bowl game in its history, a game in which it was smacked by the West Virginia Mountaineers after allowing a stunning 70 points. OSU is no stranger to the big time bowl games, as it has won and covered its last two BCS games, the 2009 Rose Bowl against the Oregon Ducks and the 2010 Sugar Bowl against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Head Coach Urban Meyer is 5-0 SU and ATS in BCS bowl games in his career.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.