Orange Bowl 2012: Predictions and Spread Info for West Virginia vs Clemson

Kyle VassaloFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2012

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 22:  Sammy Watkins #2 and Dwayne Allen #83 the Clemson Tigers celebrate a second half touchdown against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Memorial Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Clemson and West Virginia will be doing battle in the Orange Bowl in a matchup that will validate the winner as a force to be reckoned with.

Where: Sun Life Stadium (Miami, Fla.)

When: Wednesday, Jan. 4, 8:30 p.m. EST 



Spread: Clemson -3 (according to SportsBook)

Go with Clemson here. This game shouldn't come down to a field goal, as only one of Clemson's games has been decided by a three-point margin. If you are confident in Clemson, and you should be, don't let a three-point spread scare you away.


Over/Under: 61 (according to SportsBook)

Go with the over. Both of these teams love to air it out, and this score could explode.


Key Injuries

Via USA Today


West Virginia

Julian Miller, DL (Ankle), Questionable
Joshua Taylor, DL (Knee), Doubtful
Dustin Garrison, RB (Knee), Out
Vernard Roberts, RB (Eligibility), Out
Terence Garvin, DB (Knee), Out for Season
Brad Starks, WR (Knee), Out for Season
Josh Jenkins, OL (Knee), Out for Season 



DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Concussion), Questionable
Spencer Benton, PK (Shoulder), Out for Season
Tony Steward, LB (Knee), Out for Season


Keys to West Virginia Win

Protect the football. Geno Smith has thrown multiple picks in three games this season. Not surprisingly, two of those games resulted in losses. Smith is on the verge of cracking the 4,000-yard mark and is one of the best passers in the country. They just have to be smart with the football, as they have been for the majority of the season.

Attack Tajh Boyd. Both of these teams' passing games have the potential to go off. Forcing Boyd to make a mistake by forcing the ball out of his hand will ensure that Clemson's passing game doesn't maximize its potential.


Keys to Clemson Win

Be aggressive early. Clemson has been held to 17 or less in three of their last five outings. They aren't a team that is going to shut down their opponent and win in a defensive struggle. They have the weapons to put it on West Virginia and can't be afraid to take some chances.

Keep Stedman Bailey in check. Bailey has 1,197 receiving yards and has still managed to maintain 17.9 yards per catch.


Key Matchup: Sammy Watkins vs. West Virginia's secondary

Sammy Watkins is a top-flight receiver and only a true freshman. He's got double-digit scores on the season and 1,152 yards.

He's fallen off considerably, though, being held to 80 yards or less every time he's taken the field in November and December. It's time for him to have a huge game, and if West Virginia lets him break loose, this one is over.

Prediction: Clemson 38, West Virginia 33