Of all the BCS games, the Orange Bowl will likely be one of the least exciting, thanks in large part to the exceptionally over-rated nature of both these teams. Here’s how we put in our preview piece.
What else would you expect from a game featuring the second-best teams from the two worst big conferences in college football? We’ve already discussed how the ACC could be mistaken for a high-school league; the B1G Ten could easily be just as bad. This game could easily be like watching a benefit concert loaded with the hangers-on of music: Oates without Hall, Garfunkel without Simon, the non-Beyoncé members of Destiny’s Child and the severed arm of Def Leppard’s drummer.
The best part is it won’t really matter who wins; whoever comes out on top will have “over-achieved” and the loser will be a “disappointment.”
At first glance, you may be wondering how a game which offers two teams who could both hang 40 on the scoreboard could be boring? Ohio State finished third in points scored and have the third-best rushing offense in the country. They also posted 10 games with 40 or more points, while also holding opponents to 20 or less six times. But they also racked up a lot of those stats against the Purdues of the world.
Meanwhile, as for Clemson, their road to the Orange Bowl was paved with a pro-style passing game which spreads the ball around to the tune of 329.3 passing yards per game. The Tigers finished 11th in the country through the air and averaged the ninth-most points for the season. A major part of that success has come in what will be quarterback Tajh Boyd’s final season and likely Sammy Watkins’ final one at Clemson campaign as well, one in which the two have connected 85 times for 1,237 yards and 10 touchdowns. Watkins in not the only weapon in Boyd’s arsenal; in the air there’s Martavis Bryant (39 receptions, 800 yards, 5 touchdowns) and on the ground there’s Roderick McDowell (956 rushing yards, 5.4 yards per carry, 5 touchdowns). In other words, Clemson can certainly match offensive firepower with Ohio State.
The wrinkle that leads us to believe the Buckeyes will win this game is the Ohio State offense is one that not only dominates its opponents, but controls the game with its ground attack. Both Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde have over 1,000 rushing yards, and have combined for 24 touchdowns this season.
On top of that, the Ohio State defense has something to prove. They got butt-housed by Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook in the Big Ten Championship Game, and another shelling could expose them as being a completely over-rated unit. Buckeye coach Urban Meyer is on record as saying the defense needed to “step up” and that defensive coordinator Luke Fickell “will turn it around.” When the head coach says stuff like that, it’s obvious there is at the very least a concern.
The ACC as a whole is enjoying one of the best years in their history, which isn’t saying much. There a reason we call it the “Almost Credible Conference.” Let’s be honest; throughout the history of the BCS, the ACC has always been a conference which has one team that might actually be good, but usually proves not to be (this year, that’s likely to be Florida State), one team that the east coast writers love and therefore over-rate (usually Virginia Tech or Clemson, depending on the year), and a generally lousy bowl record. This year is no exception, as yet again, the regular season success of ACC teams in the regular season isn’t translating to bowl time. So far, the Almost Credible Conference 3-6 in bowl games, and are 3-13 all-time in BCS bowls.
With two teams from the ACC earning BCS berths this year, it is entirely possible that both Clemson and Florida State continue the ACC’s tradition of getting exposed in January. As we said in our preview piece, there is a difference of opinion when it comes to the BCS Championship game, but you will have to tune into the final installment of this series on Monday to find out.
So, to answer the original question…this game will be boring because it features two over-rated teams and it won’t matter who wins.