2013 Orange Bowl Picks: #12 Clemson vs. #7 Ohio State
Date: Friday, January 3rd, 2014
Time: 8:30pm (EST)
Game Line: Ohio State -2.5 @ WagerWeb Sportsbook
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Analysis For Our 2013 Orange Bowl Pick Below: The #12 ranked Clemson Tigers take on the #7 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the Discover Orange Bowl from Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida.
Ohio State finished the regular season at 12-1. They suffered their only loss in the Big Ten championship losing to Michigan State 34-24, costing them a spot in the BCS championship game. Ohio State has one of the most explosive offenses in the country ranking 3rd in the nation in points per game with 46.3. They are led by dual threat quarterback Braxton Miller. Miller has completed 63.2% of his passes for 1860 yards with 22 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Miller has also rushed for 1033 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season, averaging 6.8 yards per carry. Running back Carlos Hyde leads the Buckeye backfield with 1408 yards and 14 touchdowns and an impressive 7.7 yards per carry. Deven Smith and Philly Brown lead the receiving corps, combining for 1310 yards and 18 touchdowns. Ohio State’s defense has been good overall this season but has had their issues at times, allowing 355.8 yards per game. They have one of the better run defenses in the country, allowing only 102.6 yards per game (6th in the FBS).
Clemson comes in to Friday evening’s contest at 11-2 and coming off a 31-17 loss to South Carolina in their regular season finale. The only other loss Clemson has suffered this year was at the hands of Florida State 51-14. Like the Buckeyes, Clemson also has an explosive offense. They are led by senior quarterback Tajh Boyd, who has completed 67.6% of his passes for 3473 yards with 29 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. A lot of those passes are going to the electric Sammy Watkins. Watkins leads the wide receivers with 1237 yards and 10 touchdowns. Another target for Boyd is Martavius Bryant, with 800 yards and 5 touchdowns, averaging 20.5 yards per catch. Leading the backfield is Roderick McDowell, with 956 yards and 5 touchdowns averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Clemson’s defense is actually better this year than in years past, ranking 23rd nationally allowing 350.8 yards per game. Their run defense is an issue, as they allow 152.6 yards per game.
I’ll say this much, this game will be a shootout. Both teams average over 40 points per game and each defense have had their share of struggles over the course of the season. Let’s not talk about how weak the Big Ten is, their conference champion defeated Stanford, and most Big Ten teams have been competitive in their bowl games. I actually give the edge to the Buckeyes in this one, as Clemson has struggled to stop the run, and that’s what Ohio State does best. Clemson will put up a fair share of points, but what concerns me about the Tigers is that they have struggled in pass protection. The Buckeyes rank 5th in the FBS in sacks averaging just over three a game. I’m not concerned about Ohio State being disappointed about not playing in the BCS championship; Urban Meyer will have his team ready. You can’t overlook Meyer’s record in bowl games, as he’s gone 7-1 and 4-0 in BCS bowl games. The last time Clemson played in the Orange Bowl, the result was a 70-33 loss to West Virginia. They won’t be blown out this time around, but I think the Buckeyes are just on a different level.
2013 Clemson vs Ohio State Orange Bowl Picks: Ohio State -2.5 & Over 69.5
2013 Discover Orange Bowl Final Score Prediction: Ohio State: 45 – Clemson: 34