BCS bowl action continues this week with the 23rd ranked West Virginia Mountaineers (9-3) of the Big East traveling to Sun Life Stadium in South Florida to take on the 14th ranked Clemson Tigers (10-3) of the ACC this Wednesday evening (8:30pm ET) in the Orange Bowl. West Virginia won their last 3 regular season games, including a 30-27 win at South Florida on December 1, covering the 2 point line. Clemson won the ACC Title Game over Clemson by a score of 38-10 on December 3, easily covering the 7 point lien and snapping a two-game losing streak in the process. The Tigers in fact lost 3 of their final five games after a roaring out to an 8-0 start to the year. West Virginia is 6-6 ATS this year, while Clemson is 8-5 ATS this season.
The Mountaineers under first-year Head Coach Dana Holgorsen features one of the most dynamic offenses in the country, ranking 21st among FBS teams in scoring offense with 34.9 points per game and 18th in total offense with 459.6 yards per game. Quarterback Geno Smith (3,978 yards passing, 25 TDs, 7 INTs) has the passing game ranked 7th in the nation with 341.8 YPG through the air. The WVU defense ranks 63rd in the nation with 26.2 PPG allowed and 27th in total defense with 340.3 YPG surrendered. Clemson also features one of the most dynamic signal callers in college football in Sophomore QB Tajh Boyd (3,578 passing yards, 31 TDs, 11 INTs), who commands an offense that ranks 25th in scoring offense with 33.6 PPG and 28th in total offense with 441.5 YPG. Tight end Dwayne Allen and freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins (77 receptions, 1,153 yards and 11 TDs) were both named to the AP All-America Team. The Clemson defense ranks 62nd on scoring defense with 26.2 PPG allowed and 58th in total defense with 379.4 YPG allowed.
West Virginia vs. Clemson Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
West Virginia Mountaineers +3
@ Clemson Tigers -3
Over 62.5 (-110)
Under 62.5 (-110)
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West Virginia vs. Clemson Pick:
West Virginia is 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games against a team with a winning record, 5-13 ATS in their last 18 games against the ACC and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 bowl games. Clemson is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 bowl games and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games against Big East teams. The over is 10-3 in West Virginia’s last 13 games as an underdog and 8-3 in their last 11 bowl games. The under is 5-0 in Clemson’s last 5 games overall, 6-2 in their last 8 neutral site games and 6-1 in their last 7 bowl games. The two teams have no recent meetings.
West Virginia and Clemson feature two of the most exciting and prolific quarterbacks in the nation in Smith and Boyd who have combined to throw for 7,556 yards and 56 touchdowns this season, and who both have ability to extend the play with their mobility and attack defenses with their arm. With both teams having suspect defensive units in terms of scoring defense (West Virginia) and rushing defense (Clemson, 82nd in the nation with 176.5 YPG allowed), this should be a wide-open game. I say should be because appearances can be deceiving, West Virginia has seen the under come in for their last 3 games this season, while Clemson has had the under come in for the last five games of the year. With the up-and-down unpredictability that both teams have shown this year there is a good chance that the scoring in this game could be very one-sided, it is difficult to predict which team could be the one to explode so the under is the safer pick here. I would tend to lean towards the Mountaineers as the pick with the spread simply because they have been the hotter team at the end of the year, but Clemson is perfectly capable of exploding as well as they did against Virginia Tech. The pick here though is to take the under, look for a one-sided game in this year’s Orange Bowl.