WVU Football

Orange Bowl 2012: Will Both Teams Be Back Next Year?

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates after they won 70-33 against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images
Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2012

Chances are that if you watched the entire 2012 Orange Bowl you were either a West Virginia fan or you just wanted to laugh at Clemson as the Tigers got blown out, 70-33.

But the best part of college football is that there is always next season. Will both of these teams get back into the BCS?

Clemson’s odds aren’t very good, but West Virginia’s are more complicated.

Clemson’s offense is one of the best in the business with players like Sammy Watkins, Tajh Boyd, DeAndre Hopkins, Andre Ellington and Mike Bellamy. But the team has ridden the success or failure of their play in the trenches all season long.

When left offensive tackle Keith Price got injured against Wake Forest, the offense failed miserably the next two games, scoring 13 points against South Carolina and a mediocre N.C. State. The Tigers will also lose more linemen including their other tackle to graduation.

On the opposite side of the ball, Andre Branch has been an absolute beast at defensive end and is projected to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft as is tackle Brandon Thompson.

One of the strong points of the ACC—yes, the conference does have its strong points—is the play on the defensive line. With Florida State, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech on the schedule next year, that simply won’t cut it. One of those teams will win the conference next year.

As for West Virginia, its success will come down to what conference it plays in. The Mountaineers are trying desperately to get out of the Big East, but the conference has remained set on keeping them for next season.

There are lawsuits pending and if WVU wins, it will be headed to the Big 12 which is certainly tougher than the Big East. Winning that conference will be really tough because everyone is familiar with the type of offense Dana Holgorsen runs.

The Big East’s only real threat outside of West Virginia is upstart Louisville who returns most of their playmakers from this year’s team.

Stay there and the Mountaineers will in all likelihood be back to the BCS. Clemson, on the other hand, needed to savor the moment while it could because a BCS Bowl doesn’t appear to be in the cards for 2012.

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