by John Ryan
The Orange Bowl showcases some of the most talented and exciting offensive players in the nation and is a matchup that certainly will get high television ratings being the second to last BCS bowl game.
West Virginia is fortunate to be here as they needed a Cincinnati win in the final regular season game to win the Big East Conference title and the automatic bid to this BCS bowl game. The Mountaineers posted a 9-3 overall record and were 5-2 in Big East games. They posted a 6-6 ATS mark, but their games were offensive minded with the ‘over’ posting an 8-4 winning record. After opening the season with a 34-13 win over Marshall that played ‘under’ the 52 point total, West Virginia then went eight straight games where the ‘over’ won the money. The last three games of the regular season played ‘under’ the posted total.
Clemson had 10-2 season and set school records in points scored, passing yards, and total offensive yards and won their first ACC title since 1991. However, they ended weakly losing three of the last five games and the offense was largely inconsistent in these games. They posted an 8-5 ATS mark and were 10-3 for the season and 6-2 in ACC conference play. The ‘under’ went 7-6 in these games, but the season started out with four straight ‘overs’ and the season needed on a five straight ‘under’ streak.
West Virginia has transformed itself to a passing juggernaut and rank seventh in the BCS gaining 342 passing yards per game. The running game now takes a back seat to the passing attack and as a result it ranks 99th gaining 118 yards per game. With the strong passing game come points and West Virginia ranks 20th scoring 34.9 points per game. Defensively, the Mountaineers rank a solid 34th in the FBS allowing 203 passing yards, 76th allowing 177 rushing yards per game, and 63rd allowing 26.3 points per game.
Clemson and West Virginia are quite similar in their football styles geared toward the arial attack. The Tigers rank 21st in the FBS gaining 285 passing yards per game, 60th gaining 156 rushing yards per game, and 25th in scoring offense averaging 33.6 points per game. Defensively, the Tigers rank 34th allowing 203 passing yards per game, 76th allowing 177 rushing yards per game, and 62nd in scoring defense allowing 26.2 points per game.
In my research and experience now spanning close to 19 years, I have noticed that the 28 point barrier is a very important one in College Football. Specifically, when Clemson allows 28 or more points they are 3-4 ATS this season, 5-9 ATS the past three seasons, 16-50 ATS since 1992. In past games where they score 28 or more points they are 7-2 ATS this season, 14-6 ATS the past three seasons, and 68-28 ATS since 1992.
In past games where West Virginia has allowed 28 or more points they are 2-3 ATS this season, 2-6 ATS the past three seasons, and 17-52 ATS since 1992. In past games where the Mountaineers have scored 28 or more points they are 5-3 ATS this season, 11-7 ATS the past three seasons, and 80-37 ATS since 1992.
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