West Virginia to Orange Bowl

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
8:58
PM ET
As expected, West Virginia will represent the Big East in the Discover Orange Bowl in Miami on Jan. 4 against ACC champion Clemson.

The Mountaineers finished in a three-way tie atop the Big East with Louisville and Cincinnati. But they get the BCS berth because they are the highest ranked Big East team in the BCS standings. In fact, they are the only ranked Big East team in the final BCS standings, at No. 23.

West Virginia (9-3) won a record seventh Big East title this season. This is the 31st bowl appearance for the Mountaineers, and their first trip to the Discover Orange Bowl. This also is just the second meeting between West Virginia and Clemson and their first since the 1989 Gator Bowl.

First-year coach Dana Holgorsen, who was hired as the coach-in-waiting to Bill Stewart nearly a year ago, took over the program in the summer and got this team back to a BCS game for the first time since 2007. According to the Orange Bowl, Holgorsen is just the second coach in his first year to lead a team to this game. Chuck Fairbanks guided Oklahoma to an Orange Bowl win on Jan. 1, 1968.

Folks are going to be talking about offense headed into this one. West Virginia ranks No. 7 in the nation in passing offense (341.8 ypg.), No. 17 in total offense (459.6 ypg.) and No. 19 in scoring offense (34.92 ppg.). Clemson ranks No. 21 in passing offense (284.8 ypg.), No. 27 in scoring offense (33.62 ppg) and No. 29 in total offense (440.6 ypg.).

You have two great quarterbacks in Geno Smith and Tajh Boyd, and some outstanding receivers in Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Sammy Watkins. Lots of connections to South Florida as well among the players. Watkins played with West Virginia cornerback Brodrick Jenkins at South Fort Myers (Fla.) High.

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