Without going into too much detail, here are a few initial thoughts on and possible story lines to follow for the upcoming Orange Bowl:
- At first glance, yes, Clemson will be favored, but it's a winnable game for the Mountaineers. As good as Clemson's defense looked Saturday night, they've looked equally bad or worse in their three losses to South Carolina, NC State and Georgia Tech.
- The battle of the WVU committed quarterbacks from 2008: Which one will fare better in the game? As many of you know, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was originally committed to the Mountaineers until he saw what Mullenball was capable (or more likely, not capable) of doing. Then he was replaced in the recruiting class by current WVU starter Geno Smith. Even though they obviously won't be on the field at the same time, expect the press to beat this one to death.
- The extra practice time can only help the Mountaineers offensive woes of late, but blocking up front is still the biggest concern. Which leads to...
- Will the WVU offensive line be able to handle yet another outstanding defensive line and perhaps more importantly, will Geno be able to make the correct decision quickly if/when he's hurried?
- Will the month's rest be enough to get injured players, namely Julian Miller, Bruce Irvin, et al, back up to full health and speed?
- Location I: The players are genuinely excited to be heading to South Florida, especially those from immediate area like Geno, Stedman and Sticks. (Miramar High School is only 3.1 miles away from Sun Life Stadium)
- Location II: Don't discount the recruiting impact of this game. Despite already having 21 commitments already, WVU is still looking at and for more players from Florida.
- Location III: Given the high profile nature of this being a BCS bowl, the awesome location and the fact that WVU has never played in the Orange Bowl, WVU fans are expected to once again live up to their reputation and travel en masse to view the game in person. Ticket prices aren't that bad either.
- Dana vs. Dabo: This one kind of speaks for itself (expect the press to beat this to death too)