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Fearless prediction: Orange Bowl

DISCOVER ORANGE BOWL No. 14 Clemson (10-3) vs.

No. 14 Clemson (10-3) vs. No. 23 West Virginia (9-3)
Jan. 4, 2012, 8 p.m. on ESPN
Clemson will look to hold off a number of off-the-field distractions -- including the suspension of backup running back Mike Bellamy -- against Big East champion West Virginia..
Credit: AP

Orange Bowl


No. 23 West Virginia vs. No. 15 Clemson (-3), 8:30 p.m.: If you’re a fan of offense, this is the game for you. Don’t expect a Baylor-Washington outcome, but plenty of points will be scored in what should be an entertaining game. Big East champion West Virginia ranked 17th nationally in total offense during the regular season (460 yards per game) and ACC champion Clemson ranked 27th (441 yards per game). West Virginia was 20th nationally in scoring during the regular season (35 points per game) and Clemson was 24th nationally (34 points per game). West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has thrown for 3,978 yards and 25 touchdowns and Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd has thrown for 3,578 yards and 31 touchdowns. Clemson also has a 1,000-yard rusher (Andre Ellington, 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns) and a 1,000-yard receiver (electric freshman Sammy Watkins, 77 catches for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns). West Virginia counters with 1,000-yards receivers Stedman Bailey (67 catches for 1,197 yards and 11 touchdowns) and Tavon Austin (89 catches for 1,063 yards and 4 touchdowns). West Virginia won three straight to end the season, but won those games by a combined seven points. Clemson lost two of three to end the regular season, including blowout losses to North Carolina State and South Carolina. But the Tigers were very impressive in a 38-10 win over Virginia Tech in the ACC title game. Clemson put a lot of pressure on Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas in the game and caused all sorts of problems. Look for the Tigers to use a similar strategy tonight to rattle Smith. Clemson 38, West Virginia 34

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