MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04: Tavon Austin #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates with teammatesafter he scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Orange Bowl 2012: WVU Squashes Clemson In Record-Setting 70-Point Performance

WVU is headed to a BCS bowl to face ACC champion Clemson.

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2012 Orange Bowl: West Virginia Earns Big Win For Big East

The Big East does not get a lot of respect as a football conference around these parts, and by these parts, I mean the whole country. West Virginia isn't going to be able to single-handily change the perception of the conference with one win, but it could go a long way, according to Andrea Adelson of ESPN.

No Big East team has been embarrassed in a BCS game the way West Virginia embarrassed Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl. What was supposed to be an offensive shootout certainly was on the West Virginia side of the field. Clemson delivered duds in the form of turnovers, missed tackles and blown assignments.

They mention in that article that before the game a poll on ESPN about who would win the Orange Bowl returned results 73 percent in Clemson's favor. West Virginia must have felt the disrespect and came out to prove a point. Not just about themselves, but about their conference, even though they are going to be on their way out fairly shortly.

We'll have coverage of the Orange Bowl up to and through the big game in this StoryStream. For more on the two teams, check out Tigers blog Shakin' The Southland and Mountaineers blog The Smoking Musket.


West Virginia Vs. Clemson: WVU Orange Bowl Performance A Result Of Preparation

Mike Casazza of the Daily Mail argues that preparedness was the key in West Virginia’s record-setting 70-33 shellacking of Clemson in the Orange Bowl Wednesday night.

Last night, the defense sniffed out a lot of stuff before it happened and those two turnovers at the end of the first half were literally things the players said would happen. They said Tajh forced passes when he was frustrated. They said he exposed the ball when he ran. Offensively, lots of checks and just a long list of moments when WVU paused, communicated and either won the down or forced Clemson to do something to get out of whatever it was in that the offense spotted.

The Mountaineers were very, very ready and they were just wildly, ridiculously better. They turned a primetime showcase into Laugh-In.

This is a fun article to read, and I suggest you check out the whole thing. This win has to feel great for new West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen. Not that West Virginia fans have really doubted him much, but the Mountaineers are about to head back to Holgorsen’s old stomping grounds in Texas to play in the Big 12, and after that performance, they certainly look ready. The Mountaineers will have to come down at some point soon, look at their two Big East losses this season and acknowledge there’s still work to be done, but for now, they have every right to feel great. They came to the Orange Bowl ready to play, and they really, really played.

For more on WVU football, check out the Smoking Musket.


2012 Orange Bowl: In Midst Of Offensive Explosion, Defensive Play Was Key

Coming into the 2012 Orange Bowl, we knew that the game would be paced by the two teams offenses. West Virginia certainly did not disappoint, putting up 70 points in one of the biggest routes in Bowl history. But according to our West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket, it wasn't any of the nine offensive touchdowns they scored that set the pace, but rather the 99-yard fumble return that put momentum fairly on their shoulders.

WVU gave up a long touchdown run early and it was looking like it was going to be a back and forth game. Then THE PLAY happened. In a game that featured 103 points scored, it was a defensive play that set momentum squarely on the side of the Mountaineers for the remainder of the game.

Clemson had a first goal at about the West Virginia three-yard line, and a touchdown would have given them the lead. But West Virginia forced a fumble and returned it all the way for a touchdown, a potential 14 point swing. After that play the Mountaineers went on a 35-3 run before Clemson was able to get into the end zone again.In a game that will be remembered for the offense, the defense of the Mountaineers set the tone.

We'll have coverage of the Orange Bowl up to and through the big game in this StoryStream. For more on the two teams, check out Tigers blog Shakin' The Southland and Mountaineers blog The Smoking Musket.


West Virginia vs. Clemson Final Score: WVU Posts 70 Points In Incredible Orange Bowl Performance

The West Virginia Mountaineers blew out Clemson 70-33 in a shocking Orange Bowl performance that would have made a great statement game for the much-maligned Big East, if only WVU weren’t on its way out the door. WVU’s 70 points set an all-time record for bowl scoring. By any team.

Clemson finished the first quarter with a 17-14 lead, but WVU dropped an amazing 35 points (with six coming on a 99-yard fumble return by Darwin Cook) to put the Mountaineers up 49-20 at halftime.

Not content with a 29-point halftime lead, Geno Smith threw two touchdown passes in the first six minutes of the third quarter to put WVU up 63-20. He added yet another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Overall, Smith went 31-for-42 with 401 yards and six touchdowns in a wild performance in his hometown of Miami. Tavon Austin led the Mountaineers’ receivers with 11 catches for 117 yards and four touchdowns. And here’s a stat you don’t see every day – kicker Tyler Bitancurt had 10 points, all on PATs.

This was the sort of game that makes one wonder how WVU managed to lose to Syracuse and Louisville earlier this season. If WVU could have made it through the season losing only to LSU, and then done this in their bowl game, then they really would have made some noise. As it is, WVU fans will have to settle for an incredible performance. And a happy offseason – not only did the Mountaineers win a BCS bowl game, they’ve got many of the offensive players responsible (including Smith and Austin) coming back for another year.

For more on WVU football, check out the Smoking Musket.


West Virginia Vs. Clemson Score Update: Mountaineers Running Away With It, 49-20 At Halftime

After entering the second quater trailing the Clemson Tigers 17-14, the West Virginia Mountaineers were able to jump ahead 21-17 after Geno Smith connected with Tavon Austin for a 27-yard touchdown pass that saw Austin use some nifty work on the sideline to stay in bounds.

On Clemson's next drive, it looked as if they were going to match West Virginia's touchdown with one of their own, having first and goal on the 3-yard line, but thanks to an Andre Ellington fumble on the one yard line, Darwin Cook was able to pick the football up and take it back for the 99-yard touchdown.

The Clemson Tigers offense faltered thereafter, with the Mountaineers defense forcing some turnovers and the offense scoring on drive after drive, scoring five total touchdowns in the second quarter and taking a 49-20 lead into halftime. The game is on pace to shatter Orange Bowl records as there has been a combined 670 yards of total offense in the first half.

We'll have coverage of the Orange Bowl up to and through the big game in this StoryStream. For more on the two teams, check out Tigers blog Shakin' The Southland and Mountaineers blog The Smoking Musket.


Animated: Tavon Austin Has Some Nifty Feet

West Virginia took a lead early in the second quarter thanks to some nifty footwork by running back Tavon Austin. The touchdown was reviewed and ultimately upheld, because as you can see Austin never goes out of bounds.

We'll have coverage of the Orange Bowl up to and through the big game in this StoryStream. For more on the two teams, check out Tigers blog Shakin' The Southland and Mountaineers blog The Smoking Musket.


West Virginia Vs. Clemson Score Update: Tigers Lead 'Eers 17-14 After Wild First Quarter

The West Virginia Mountaineers started out the 2012 Orange Bowl off on the right foot, forcing the Clemson Tigers to a three and out on their first possession. The 'Eers wound up punting on their first drive as well however, despite moving the ball across midfield. The Mountaineers second venture on defense wasn't quite as successful as the first, as Clemson running back Andre Ellington broke through to the second level and beat the safety to the angle, going 68-yards for the first touchdown of the game.

After the score, West Virginia was able to get a drive going once quarterback Geno Smith connected with 33-yard catch and run by Devon Brown, getting the 'Eers in Clemson territory. A few plays later, running back Tavon Austin had a nifty play where the Clemson defense thought he was down, but he wasn't. Austin was slung down, but actually rolled over the defender never touching the ground.

A few plays later, running back Shawne Alston was able to tie the game at seven all by getting the ball in the endzone.

Not the be ignored, the Clemson offense marched right down the field on the West Virginia defense, with quarterback Tajh Boyd connecting with star freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins for the touchdown and the 14-7 lead.

That, of course, was not all of the scoring in the first quarter, as on West Virginia's next possession they marched right down the football field thanks to another long pass by Geno Smith, this time to Willie Milhouse for 34 yards. The 'Eers capped off the drive with a Tavon Austin touchdown run the tie the game up at 14.

Clemson took the ball right down the field, but after a couple of incomplete passes had to settle for a field goal to take the 17-14 lead into the second quarter.

We'll have coverage of the Orange Bowl up to and through the big game in this StoryStream. For more on the two teams, check out Tigers blog Shakin' The Southland and Mountaineers blog The Smoking Musket.


2012 Orange Bowl: Time, TV Schedule, History And More

The Clemson Tigers and the West Virginia Mountaineers will face off in the Discover Orange Bowl on Wednesday night. It will be a matchup of two extremely high powered offensive teams, and could be the next in a recent line of high scoring BCS games. It has been touted as the worst game of the BCS season because of the two opponents, but it could end up being the most exciting based on the offenses and the amount of points that could potentially be scored.

Here is all the information you need to find this game on TV tonight.

Game Date/Time: Wednesday, January 4, 8:30 p.m. ET

Location: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida


History: West Virginia's first appearance, Clemson's fourth.

We'll have coverage of the Orange Bowl up to and through the big game in this StoryStream. For more on the two teams, check out Tigers blog Shakin' The Southland and Mountaineers blog The Smoking Musket.


Orange Bowl 2012: West Virginia Defense Will Focus On Sammy Watkins

The Clemson Tigers are one of the more athletic teams in the country, but arguably their fastest player is true freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins. The ACC Rookie of the Year lines up all over the field and even returns kicks for the Tigers, and he does it all with game-breaking ability. According to Jack Bogaczyk of the Daily Mail, he will be the focus of the West Virginia defense.

"He has the ability - and they do really a great job of getting him the football in a bunch of different ways. Obviously, they're going to throw him the ball, but he'll get it as a running back, and they're going to screen him. They'll throw the ball down the field, and he goes up and gets it.

Keying in Watkins all game long will be difficult. Because of his speed, you can have him locked up for three and a half quarters and then he makes one play late in the game that breaks it wide open. Shutting him down will take a full team effort for 60 minutes.

We'll have coverage of the Orange Bowl up to and through the big game in this StoryStream. For more on the two teams, check out Tigers blog Shakin' The Southland and Mountaineers blog The Smoking Musket.


2012 Orange Bowl, Clemson Vs. West Virginia Odds: Tigers Currently Favored Against Mountaineers

With just hours before kickoff at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, the Clemson Tigers are currently favored by a field goal against Big East Champion West Virginia. The public has tended to bet more heavily on the Tigers, as the line has worked its way up from near even to now three points.

More: Check out the complete set of college football odds.

The oddsmakers are also expecting a high-scoring affair in this year's Orange Bowl, as the over-under is set at 62 total points. Each team brings an average to below average defense to this BCS matchup, while both offenses feature some of the better playmakers in college football. West Virginia will be without leading rusher Dustin Garrison, but that hasn't affected the over-under as it has climbed up two points since the oddsmakers set it at 60.

The Mountaineers will enter as three-point underdogs, looking to pull off the upset in what will likely be their last time representing the Big East in the BCS.

We'll have coverage of the Orange Bowl up to and through the big game in this StoryStream. For more on the two teams, check out Tigers blog Shakin' The Southland and Mountaineers blog The Smoking Musket.


Orange Bowl 2012: What It Means For The Mountaineers And What They Must Do To Win

The 2012 Orange Bowl kicks off tomorrow night at 8pm. Here's what the key storylines will be:

What the Orange Bowl means for the West Virginia Mountaineers:

Validation on a national stage. West Virginia, and West Virginians in general, view themselves as maligned in the national spotlight. Usually the only mention of the Mountaineers comes in reference to a slumping Big East, or the school's inability to make a coaching hire that doesn't embarrass the school in the process. The lone bright spot has been the team's two shocking victories in BCS Bowl Games, first under Rich Rodriguez and then under Bill Stewart as an interim coach. In each game, the world thought the ‘Eers didn't stand a chance. This year's Orange Bowl is a little different, since all of college football is utterly indifferent towards an ACC/Big East matchup. This game is a BCS bowl game only because it was contracted to work out that way. That said, for the Mountaineers to beat the Tigers and to advance to 3-0 in BCS Bowls would be a huge boost for the program as they head to the Big 12.

Dana Holgorsen can justify his hiring. Last season, Bill Stewart went 9-3 and won a share of the Big East title. This season, Dana Holgorsen went 9-3 and won a share of the Big East title. The only difference in the two seasons is that Holgorsen was lucky enough to back into a BCS game by being tied atop the Big East with more other teams than Stewart. While most WVU fans would find the notion that Holgorsen has anything else to prove totally ludicrious, this writer does not. In fact, anyone who watched Holgorsen's offense sputter and struggle to score over the last two months of the season must draw some comparisons between the two. If Holgorsen can get a BCS win, then the debate is pretty much over in Morgantown. If he loses, the Stewart apologists will be very loud this offseason.

What the Mountaineers need to do to win:

Get the offense rolling. The 900 pound gorilla in any WVU fan's room is the struggles of Dana Holgorsen's vaunted high-flying offensive scheme. While WVU rolled up on opponents early in the year, the back half of the schedule saw their points per game average drop by nearly 25% to under 30 points per game. In the season's first half, the Mountaineer offense averaged over 40, but it's slowed to a crawl since then. It's pretty inexplicable how WVU has gotten worse on offense so far this season, but it's happened. Mountaineer fans will need Geno Smith to make good decisions in the pocket, something that has eluded him much of his career, and they would also like to see their team score early in the game. If West Virginia gets behind early in the Orange Bowl, it could spell doom for the Mountaineers chances.

Continue the ascent of the defense. While the offense has struggled, Jeff Casteel's defense has gone out and won football games for WVU. In what could be Casteel's last game as WVU defensive coordinator before joining his old boss Rodriguez at Arizona, his unit will be counted on to do some serious heavy lifting. Casteel's unit held opponents to under 24 points per game down the stretch this season, and a similar effort will be needed to keep WVU in the game tomorrow. Slowing down the Tigers will be key, and it will be nearly impossible for WVU to win if the defense doesn't come to play.

What stands in their way:

Injuries. The Mountaineers have been plagued by injuries from the troubling to the ridiculous. WVU will be without running back Dustin Garrison who was injured during bowl week practice and safety Terence Garvin who had been injured earlier in bowl preparation. While the Mountaineers have a couple of decent options to play in Garrison's place, Garvin will be harder to replace and was a key player in the defense's late season revival. And from the ridiculous file: WVU also lost a walk on wide receiver this week when he broke his leg on a jet ski at a Miami beach bowl party. West Virginia fans everywhere are relieved that Holgorsen was smart enough to keep Geno Smith off of the water.

Tajh Boyd. Oh yeah, there's another team in this game, and they just so happen to be led by a quarterback who had committed to West Virginia before pulling out and heading to Clemson. Boyd has been sensational this season and is the lone reason behind the Tigers' revival in 2011. For West Virginia to be successful, they will have to contain the athletic Boyd and keep him in the pocket and under pressure. The success of WVU on defense this season has been directly tied to pressuring the quarterback. If Boyd has plenty of time to survey the scene from the pocket, then it could lead to a lot of points on the board and big hole for the Mountaineers.


West Virginia Vs. Clemson: Orange Bowl Loses Importance In BCS Era

The Boston Herald writes that, after somewhat recent changes to the bowl system, the Orange Bowl has lost some of its juice.

Even fans of Clemson and West Virginia aren’t rushing to see the match-up the Orange Bowl will serve Wednesday night at Sun Life Stadium. Both schools are coming up well short of selling out their allotments of 17,500 tickets.

The BCS era has stripped much of the luster from the traditional bowls.

National champions used to come from the Orange Bowl, but now that isn’t possible. Now it’s just one among many.

Fans of Clemson and especially West Virginia can’t rightly complain about this, of course. WVU lost to UConn and Louisville this year – the Mountaineers deserve to be going to a lower-tier bowl. They’re lucky that the Big East has a BCS tie-in in the first place. And the Orange Bowl is hardly the only bowl that’s been affected – none of the many bowls on Monday felt particularly relevant.

For more on WVU football, check out the Smoking Musket.


2012 Orange Bowl: Clemson Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris Expresses Admiration For WVU's Dana Holgorsen

In advance of Clemson's matchup against West Virginia in the Orange Bowl, Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris has kind words for WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen.

"I know he's a very sharp-minded football coach on the cutting edge, and that's always great to see, how he grows his offense. They definitely have those guys going. As a high school coach in state of Texas, that is one of the guys that you always looked at, and again, always on the cutting edge of things."

Morris was a high-school coach in Texas when Holgorsen was coaching for Texas Tech and Houston, so the two coaches have been swimming in similar waters for some time.

Of course, Morris has a reputation himself. His Clemson offense scored 33.6 points per game this year, racking up big points totals against schools like Virginia Tech and Florida State. That led to rumors that he might join forces with Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Morris ultimately signed a six-year, $7.8-million extension with Clemson that will earn him more money than some head coaches of major programs make.


Orange Bowl 2012: West Virginia Sells 2,000 Tickets On First Day Of Availability

The West Virginia Mountaineers have just started selling tickets for the 2012 Orange Bowl against the Clemson Tigers, even thought the tickets were mostly only available to season ticket holders and only a select number were available to the general public; according to Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail.

"I would say right now it's probably in the middle of the reaction to the Sugar Bowl and the reaction to the Fiesta Bowl, which would make sense," Wells said. "It's not quite as easy to get to as Atlanta was, but it's easier to get to than Phoenix was."

Wells said in addition to the season-ticket holders, who received order forms last month, the public was allowed to purchase from one of the seven types of tickets WVU sells.

The University expects tickets sales to experience a significant jump on Wednesday when the rest of the tickets will be available to the general public.


2012 Orange Bowl: West Virginia Picked Last Among Automatic Qualifiers

The BCS bowls run on a drafting system of sorts, able to pick which of the BCS qualifying schools they would like to include in their games in a specified order. According to Josh Sickles of the Tribune, the Orange Bowl committee was picking last and had no choice but to take the Mountaineers (which comes as no surprise given the Big East's place in the pecking order of conferences that automatically qualify for the BCS), but they are still excited about the game.

The bowl had an automatic tie-in with the ACC. It also was the last BCS bowl to make its school selection, and West Virginia, the Big East's automatic BCS qualifier, hadn't been picked. . .

"We weren't quite sure what was going to happen with the Sugar (Bowl)," Orange Bowl representative Jeff Rubin said. "Once they finally made a decision where they were going to go, that left us with the opportunity to invite the Big East team, which was West Virginia."

This is the type of thing that Dana Holgorsen could probably hang up in the locker room for motivation, because it certainly sounds like it's a slight to the school that they got picked last, understandable though it may be.

Orange Bowl 2012: West Virginia, Clemson Offenses Pack A Punch

On Jan. 4, the No. 23 West Virginia Mountaineers take on the No. 14 Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl, marking WVU's third BCS bowl appearance in the last five seasons. Coach Dana Holgerson, in his first year leading the Mountaineers, notes the Orange Bowl pits two excellent offensive teams against one another. "I think we match up pretty good," Holgerson said, according to Jim Butta of the Parkersburg News and Sentinel. "Obviously, the two offenses are among the best in the country and the defenses have been playing very well of late."

West Virginia ranks among the country's best offenses--averaging 34.9 points per contest, No. 19 overall--on the strength of its passing game: the Mountaineers gain 341.8 yards per game through the air, good for No. 8 among FBS schools. Quarterback Geno Smith has had an excellent junior campaign, ranking No. 1 or No. 2 in the Big East in completions (314), attempts (483), completion percentage (65 percent), yards (3978), touchdowns (25), and passer rating (148.4). And despite his high-volme passing, Smith threw just seven interceptions in 2011.

The Tigers' offense boasts more balance, with a sound running game (155.8 yards per game, No. 61 overall) to complement its No. 21-ranked passing offense. Quarterback Tajh Boyd led all Atlantic Coast Conference players with 31 touchdown passes, helping Clemson average 33.6 points per game. Though not as prolific or accurate as Smith, Boyd nonetheless enjoyed a solid sophomore campaign. Andre Ellington led the Tighers with 10 rushing touchdowns and five yards per carry, while Boyd added five scores of his own on the ground.

We'll have coverage of the Orange Bowl up to and through the big game in this StoryStream. For more on the two teams, check out Tigers blog Shakin' The Southland and Mountaineers blog The Smoking Musket.


2012 Orange Bowl, West Virginia Vs. Clemson: Complicated Chain Of Events Brought WVU To BCS Bowl

WV Illustrated notes the chaotic process through which the West Virginia Mountaineers came to win a spot in the Orange Bowl to play Clemson.

“Regardless of what happens, you’ve just got to keep playing, you’ve got to keep playing, you’ve got to keep playing and you’ve got to find a way to win at the end,” he says. “For the last three games, our guys have been able to do that.”

The Mountaineers needed three straight wins of three points or fewer to earn a tie atop the Big East. Then they needed two straight wins by Cincinnati to force a three-way tie between WVU, Cincinnati and Louisville that ultimately resulted in WVU coming out on top. And all of that only resulted in WVU getting a BCS bowl berth that most college football fans think the Big East doesn’t deserve.

But hey … whatever! No. 15 Clemson vs. No. 23 West Virginia is by far the lowest-profile BCS matchup, but it’s still a BCS matchup. And for all the crazy events that brought them here, the Mountaineers do have the best hope of any Big East team of making the conference somehow look good.

For more on WVU football, check out the Smoking Musket.


Orange Bowl Odds 2012: Clemson Gets Early Nod Over West Virginia

The West Virginia Mountaineers won the Big East Championship this year, and they will face the ACC Champion Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl. The odds are likely the change drastically between now and the big game, but as it stands, the Tigers are an early favorite by just over a field goal, according to the fellas over at SB Nation.

Even though they lost three of their final five games, Clemson open as a 3 1/2 point favorite over WVU. Clemson likely would not have been favored against just about any other possible opponent, but WVU's two Big East losses give the Tigers the edge in the eyes of the oddsmakers.

Clemson almost certainly gets the nod for playing in the stronger conference. A win against Virginia Tech to close out the year, while West Virginia had their hands full with South Florida and sort of backed into this game, certainly doesn't hurt.

We'll have coverage of the Orange Bowl up to and through the big game in this StoryStream. For more on the two teams, check out Clemson Tigers blog Shakin The Southland and West Virginia Mountaineers blog The Smoking Musket.


Orange Bowl: West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen Excited For Matchup Against Clemson

The West Virginia Mountaineers were selected to play in the Orange Bowl against the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl in a few weeks time. The matchup features to very good offensive teams, but Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen expects the game to be won on the defensive side of the ball, according to Garrett Cullin of the West Virginia Metro News.

“Offensively I think that’s what people want to see,” Holgorsen said.  “But the only way you can win the game is if defensively, you stop people.  I think the turnover margin is the biggest thing in football.  I think we’re pretty good defensively and Clemson’s pretty good defensively and the one that gets the most stops and creates the most turnovers will probably be the one that wins the game.”

Clemson and West Virginia both have the kind of game-breaking talent that can win a game all by themselves. But we can imagine both of those teams will get those plays at certain points in that game. It will be the team that can shut down those plays the most from the opposition that will be successful, at least according to Coach Holgorsen.


2012 Orange Bowl: West Virginia's Roster Features Lots Of South Florida Talent

Jack Bogaczyk of the Charleston Daily Mail has a bunch of interesting tidbits regarding the 2012 Orange Bowl matchup between West Virginia and Clemson, including this.

It’s also a homecoming for those Miami-area Mountaineers, led by quarterback Geno Smith and receiver Stedman Bailey, not to mention a sweet swansong for West Virginia from the Big East – which it needs to officially exit soon if the Big 12 is going to be able to accommodate WVU in scheduling next season.

There should be plenty of interesting story lines here, including the Miami ties of Smith, Bailey, Ivan McCartney and other players. A ton of the WVU roster is from South Florida, and Smith, Bailey and McCartney are all from Miramar High.

Here’s Dana Holgorsen on WVU’s ties to the area.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the West Virginia University football program to be able to go to the Orange Bowl for the first time and to be able to come to South Florida,” said Mountaineers Coach Dana Holgorsen, who already is the school’s first first-year coach to win nine regular season games and can become the first first-year coach to win 10 games. “That’s been an important recruiting territory for us, obviously, as it is for a whole lot of other people. It’s going to be a great matchup.”

The Orange Bowl will also, presumably, be WVU’s last in the Big East, as it prepares to depart to the Big 12 next season. They’ll be leaving as champions. I wouldn’t expect there to be too many bittersweet farewells – if anything, we saw a lot more of that in the Backyard Brawl a couple weeks ago. But this game will be WVU’s last before embarking on a weird new adventure in south.


West Virginia Vs. Clemson: Mountaineers Officially Headed To 2012 Orange Bowl

Multiple reports on Twitter – including this one by Stewart Mandel – have the West Virginia Mountaineers heading to the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium to face the Clemson Tigers on January 4, 2012, at 8:00 PM. Here’s Mandel’s entire BCS lineup:

Your BCS lineup will be: Title: LSU-Bama. Rose: Wis-Ore. Fiesta: Ok St-Stanford. Sugar: Va Tech-Michigan. Orange: Clemson-West Va.

After Cincinnati’s win over UConn on Saturday, which forced a three-way tie atop the Big East standings that set in motion West Virginia’s clinching of a BCS berth, the Mountaineers’ spot in the Orange Bowl comes as no surprise. Clemson earned its spot by defeating Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday.

Clemson is 10-3 overall and has two wins over Virginia Tech, as well as victories over Florida State and Auburn. The Tigers lost three of their last four regular season games, however, dropping contests to Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and South Carolina.

For more on the WVU Mountaineers, check out the Smoking Musket.


WVU Likely Headed To BCS Bowl After Cincinnati Win Over UConn

Cincinnati's win forced a three-way tie atop the Big East that appears likely to send WVU to the Orange Bowl.

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