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January 3, 2014

Staff Predictions: Clemson Tigers

Follow Noon | Givler | Maks | Holleran | AndyMac

It is our final pick of the season with the Orange Bowl and the Clemson Tigers. Will the Buckeyes be able to end the season on a good note or will the hangover from the Big Ten Title Game spoil the party? We make our picks.


Kevin Noon - Publisher
Like most people, I see this game having a lot of points but maybe not to the scale that others are predicting. I go back to Ohio State's game against Oregon in the Rose Bowl and how things definitely did not go according to plan (as for what people expected... granted Ohio State won). Now, Ohio State's defense then was much better than Ohio State's defense now and this is going to be a game where Ohio State is going to out to outscore its opponent and "breaking serve" is going to be key. Clemson has struggled through the years with mobile quarterbacks and while the defense has been good at bottling up running backs, they are not so good at stopping the QB. When Clemson spies on Miller it will open up Hyde and if the Tigers look to bottle up Hyde, then Miller can run free. Ohio State's defense on the other hand is going to have to do what it can against a stellar offensive team in Clemson. The Tigers will try to run the ball some but I don't forsee a lot of success on the ground but when you can throw the ball the way that Clemson does (regardless of the status of Bradley Roby) that is what you need to do. Clemson will put up some points and will probably even lead the game in the 4th quarter but I am expecting the defense to clamp down late in the game and force a turnover that allows Ohio State to score the game winner and set the table for a run in 2014. Ohio State 45 Clemson 41

Patrick Maks - Staff Writer
Since it was announced that Ohio State and Clemson would play in the Orange Bowl, I've changed my mind on a weekly and sometimes daily basis as to which team will win. My indecision with Friday's bout still remains but I think I have a better idea of who might come out on top in Miami, Fla. I've tussled with the fact that Ohio State might still be hurting deep down after a seemingly devastating loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game. While Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes genuinely seen interested in their bowl experience, it's not what they wanted and that'll linger for a team that won 24 straight games. And because of that reason, I struggle picking against Ohio State. You don't accidentally win that many contests in a row. You just don't. It takes a lot of talent and focus to accomplish such a feat and who's to say the Buckeyes can't recapture that magic against the Tigers. Still, I worry that Ohio State's pass defense -- which is ranked 105th nationally and the team's underbelly and arguably its undoing too -- won't be able to stop a Clemson offense that averages 40 points a game. Throw in the fact that Noah Spence won't play and Bradley Roby and Curtis Grant are still questionable and the notion of slowing down Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins seems unlikely. If Ohio State can get takeaways and run the ball with Carlos Hyde, they'll have the Tigers on their heels. But I'm not sure it'll be enough to atone for a pass defense that's been simply bad and lacked any real growth or progression. Clemson 41 Ohio State 35

Andrew Holleran - Staff Writer
For me, Bowl Season is always one of the best times of the year. But for whatever reason, it hasn't seemed to live up to its usual hype so far this year. This game, however, should. Ohio State and Clemson are two of the most talented and exciting teams in all the land. Both have star quarterbacks and playmakers on offense. And both defenses have struggled this season. So that's really what this game is going to come down to. Can Ohio State's defense be better than Clemson's? I think it can. The only times Clemson's offense has struggled this season came against Florida State and South Carolina. Now, Ohio State's defense isn't nearly as good as FSU or USC's, but they do possess similar speed. And that should be something that troubles the Tigers. I expect Ohio State's secondary to struggle against Clemson's wide receivers, but the Buckeyes' defensive line, and the play of Ryan Shazier, should make up for some of that. Ohio State's defense doesn't need to be great, it just needs to be average. The Buckeyes will score points at will against the Tigers. As long as the defense plays somewhat competently, Ohio State should come away with a close victory. Ohio State 45 Clemson 42

Marc Givler - Recruiting Analyst
A few weeks ago we made all of our bowl predictions and at that point I picked Ohio State. A lot has happened since that time, most of it being negative for the Buckeyes. There will be no Bradley Roby on the field on Friday night, no Noah Spence, a limited Curtis Grant, and barring some type of major surprise, no Christian Bryant. So much talent lost off a defense that struggled greatly down the stretch against passing games that are vastly inferior to the one they are going to face on Friday night. I think the Buckeyes can score on the Clemson defense and I think Carlos Hyde and company will be the best defense for the Buckeyes as they can help control the clock and keep Tajh Boyd and company off the field. Still, I see too much offensive firepower for Clemson against a struggling defense that will be missing some key components. Clemson 35 Ohio State 28

Andy McLachlan - Team Writer
Before the bowl season kicked off, there was no hesitation with my pick which was the Buckeyes in a highly competitive game. Since then, multiple key names have been mentioned as possible casualties due to injuries, illness and/or undisclosed reasons. If any of those players miss the bowl game, it would be a rather drastic loss and would provide more than enough reason to switch to the Tigers. Tahj Boyd's efficiency through the air will play a large factor. If he gets into a groove with his receivers, it could lead for a long evening for Buckeye fans. Despite my concerns of OSU's defensive backs facing the likes of Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant, I just don't see Clemson slowing down Miller, Carlos Hyde and the Ohio State running game. Let us not forget what happened the last time the Tigers played in the Orange Bowl. Ohio State 44 Clemson 40

Tom Levenick - Time and Change Contributor/Former Player

The Ohio State Buckeyes versus the Clemson Tigers in the 80th playing of the Orange Bowl is promising to be an offensive shootout. Clemson has proven their ability to play with any team in the country this year by beating six bowl teams on their schedule. The Tigers are led by QB Tajh Boyd who passed for an impressive 3,473 yards and 29 touchdowns and his prime target, Sammy Watkins, who had 85 receptions for 1,237 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Buckeyes will need to shore up their porous pass defense in a hurry or it is going to be a long night in Miami. In the absence of Noah Spence, Ohio State's Adolphus Washington, Joey Bosa and Michael Bennett will need to step up and have big games putting pressure on Boyd. On offense, The Buckeyes will need to be balanced between the run and pass, giving Carlos Hyde 25 to 30 carries, while also attempting 25 plus passes. I love our chances in any game where Urban Meyer has had close to a month to prepare. I think our defense will make enough big plays to slow down the Tigers and allow the Buckeyes offense to "Outscore" Clemson. Ohio State 43 Clemson 31

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