The Bowl Series: Orange Bowl

Chris Meinecke

Chris Meinecke

Sitting in a poorly lit waiting room one day early last fall, I saw a group or a panel if you will talking about college football. There was no sound, or at least very little I mean c’mon it’s a waiting room in America. The funny thing about this is that I didn’t need sound. They were debating quarterbacks and their teams. Somehow that always seems to be cannon fodder for windbags that need a quick topic that day. I’ll try not to be too hypocritical as we tend to do the same over on the radio side of things. Either way, it was a lively if not heated discussion by this group of suit clad men.

Of course Teddy came up, Johnny, etc. Eventually they got to what would be the Orange Bowl participants, Tajh Boyd & Braxton Miller. Ask anyone one of those guys on that panel that day if they thought Ohio State would be playing in the Orange Bowl and they probably would’ve laughed. This was, mind you, before Miller was hurt and all that talk about him losing his job to Kenny Guiton. Miller played well enough to return to form regain his job, leaving Buckeye fans to wonder if he’ll return for his senior season, or if Guiton will truly take over in 2014. Boyd, a senior, was mentioned as one of the most consistent leaders since he took over the reigns for the Tigers. In 2013, Boyd completed nearly 68% of his passes in 2013, which would have been higher if not for the 46% performance vs. eventual National Champion contender Florida State that led to a 51-14 route by the Seminoles.

Boyd will have to do much of the same in Miami. Accuracy is the name of the game for him. Pro scouts will be looking for accuracy, arm strength, and leadership qualities from both of these young men. Clemson’s Roderick McDowell will have to have a career game to show his worth, creating a run that will set up the pass, and to help Boyd be successful with high percentage/high probability throws. Some would argue that Miller can create his own opportunities with his running ability and that is true. Miller will attempt to run a fair amount in this matchup as Clemson’s defense is allowing over 152 rushing yards per contest, while their pass defense is stoutly ranked 15th in the country.

A Tigers win would wrap up a great season and put them on the map for next year. It would also be fun to see a team clad in orange win the Orange Bowl. If the Big Ten championship game is any indicator, OSU gets overwhelmed by tough defenses. Clemson’s D is tough, but maybe not tough enough. Look for some big play chances and execution by the Buckeyes as they take a close one at Sun Life Stadium.