Don't Bet On It: The FedEx Frozen Orange Juice Bowl

I've lived in south Florida since 1993 and I can tell you that we generally get a pretty good cold snap or two down here every winter, particularly in the month of January. A few years ago, when Georgia Tech played in the Orange Bowl, people were buying pizzas in Joe Robbie, Pro Player, Landshark Dolphins Stadium not to necessarily eat, but to hold on their laps to keep warm. The FedEx Orange Bowl will be played in similarly cold conditions on Wednesday evening, when the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Clemson Tigers tangle in an ACC/Big East showdown. A word of caution to anyone thinking of driving down in their own car or parking underneath what you might believe is an innocuous palm tree: On a really cold night, some weird stuff happens down here in Dade County. Actually, really weird stuff happens every night down here, but this is a bit unique to our neck of the Carribbean woods.

Iguana? I thought that was one of Georgia's offensive linemen...

This is my first crack at a "Don't Bet On It" segment and I've gotta' tell you: It's hard for me to write this. First of all, I'm a reformed betting kind-of-guy. I used to love to play the parlay cards back in school...and was pretty decent at it, too. So when I make my prediction, pay absolutely no attention to DAVE THE DAWGS' STONE COLD LOCK OF THE CENTURY.


Sammy Watkins

Clemson, the ACC Champions for the first time since 1991 (Ken Hatfield was their coach. Remember him? Didn't think so...) is about a three-point favorite in this matchup. If you're looking for offense, this might not be quite as gaudy as Stanford-Oklahoma State or Baylor-Washington to name a few, but it could turn out to be a shootout nevertheless. Tajh Boyd is the Tigers quarterback has had a solid season, completing 60.5% of his passes for about 275 yards per game, with 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Thrown in 1,000 yard rusher in Andre Ellington and a first class Tight-End (and one-time Georgia commit) Dwayne Allen, and you've got as much offensive talent as just about anyone in the nation. Receiver Sammy Watkins has had an otherworldly season, with almost 1400 all-purpose yards and 11 receiving touchdowns. Their defense is good, but tripped badly against Georgia Tech and N.C. State earlier this season. However, Dabo Swinney got them re-focused down the stretch and Clemson, to their credit, is in a BCS Bowl for the first time in their history.


Yum...frozen concentrate orange juice on the vine.

West Virginia certainly has some offensive weaponry, but they're just not quite the known commodity as Clemson is primarily due to the conference in which they play. That, and no one really watches Big East football anyway. Percentage-wise, quarterback Geno Smith has had a better season than Tajh Boyd, with a completion rate of 65%, 25 touchdowns and only 7 picks. West Virginia also runs a very up-tempo offense, but is giving up about 26 points per game on defense. I have watched a ton of college football this season, probably more than is healthy. I can honestly say that I have not seen West Virginia take a single snap. Does this make me a bad person?


West Virginia QB Geno Smith. I hear you're pretty good.

This game could be a coronation of sorts for Clemson. They have a ton of talent and should be ranked pretty high at the start of next season. The Tigers recovered nicely to end the year, crushing South Carolina and whipping VPI in the ACC Championship Game. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Tigers are poised to repeat next season as ACC champs.

The Mountaineers, despite wins over Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and South Florida, struggled a bit down the stretch but to their credit found themselves in a BCS Bowl with a big-time BCS pay-day to boot. The Mountaineers have a penchant for winning games like this when they're the underdog (...whistles and looks away...), so Clemson had best not take them lightly. West Virginia has been the class of the Big East for the most part. Things will get tougher as Boise State, SMU, Houston and Central Florida have joined the league in an effort to keep the Big East a viable BCS conference. One thing is for sure: I'm looking forward to seeing West Virginia and Boise State hook up in the future. Competition is a good thing.


Wednesday, 8:30 West Virginia 33, Clemson 30 in (3 Overtimes).

I'm going to with West Virginia. Why? Because it's going to be cold, and Mountain Men have more fur on them than Tigers. Plus, I just saw on the late local news that the Clemson team bus driver parked underneath a palm tree at Joe's Stone Crab and an iguana with a butt as big as Shakira's fell on top of Tajh Boyd's noggin. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it...and take my advice: Don't Bet On It!

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