The Orange Bowl features two teams who had much higher hopes when the season opened. You could say Clemson and Ohio State are mirror images of each other in many ways. This we know: If both show up motivated and ready to go, the Orange Bowl could end up being the best game of this bowl season.
Let’s see how our writers see it playing out.
I originally had Ohio State winning this by two scores, but that was before reports started surfacing about how banged up the Buckeyes were. Clemson will come in much healthier and that should allow them to jump out early.
Ohio State won’t go quietly. Urban Meyer always has his teams ready for bowl games and they’ve got a guy who can carry the load in Carlos Hyde. He’ll be the B1G difference maker in this one. If Hyde can control the tempo, clock and the line of scrimmage while carrying the rock, the Buckeyes can walk away victorious.
I think No. 34 gets it done. I’ll take Ohio State by a touchdown off a late clock consuming drive capped by a Hyde score.
Although the B1G has already lost arguably its two most winnable bowls this season, I’ve liked Ohio State all day long in this consolation prize bowl versus Clemson ever since I found out about the matchup.
If the Big Ten notches only one bowl win, this would be my pick. Ohio State will not take kindly to losing — I guarantee you that much — and Meyer will have these guys ready to play.
My assumption is that the defense will be a much improved product from what we saw late in the season when they surrendered too many points to teams like Illinois, Michigan and Michigan State.
B1G Difference Maker: I think Ohio State’s offense can overwhelm the Clemson D similar but not quite to the degree that Florida State gouged them. But I’m concerned more with OSU’s defense. LB Ryan Schazier will need to make the difficult tackles and even occasionally pressure Tajh Boyd if they are to limit the damage of the Clemson offense and get the W.
It’s true, Ohio State would rather be playing in the National Title Game, but the Orange Bowl is a nice fall back for any team. I don’t really question the motivation of the Buckeyes in this game. They have nothing to hang their heads about after head coach Urban Meyer’s first two seasons in Columbus. Clemson gives the Buckeyes a quality team that can help Ohio State prepare mentally for the 2014 season after question marks about their soft schedule this season.
The match-up of quarterbacks in Braxton Miller vs Tajh Boyd is a BCS bowl game’s dream and should go a long way to deciding this game. I think one of the biggest edges in this game for Clemson is their receiving corps vs. the Buckeyes secondary. I look for an extremely close game that goes back and fourth and ultimately goes the Buckeyes way.
The B1G difference maker will be Carlos Hyde, who is one of the best backs in the country running behind one of the best offensive lines in college football. If he gets rolling, it will be hard for Clemson to slow Ohio State down.
PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 31, 2013