WVU Florida Bound

After a pair of puzzling losses, West Virginia got a second and a third chance at a BCS bowl bid. The Mountaineers, with some help, were finally able to close the deal, and will now face Clemson in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4, 2012.

West Virginia finished in a three-way tie for the Big East title, but earned the BCS bid based on the highest finish in the BCS rankings among the tied teams. The Mountaineers finished 23rd, outpacing Cincinnati and Louisville in the final rankings. WVU finished 22nd in the Harris and USA Today Polls, and had an average computer ranking of 29. West Virginia's only computer Top 25 finish was #24 in the Colley Matrix.

Once WVU earned that spot, most early indications had the Mountaineers in the Orange Bowl. Circling rumors of another possible destination for WVU proved to be mere speculation, as form held in for an Eastern match-up. West Virginia will be playing in the latest bowl game it has ever participated in. Four times prior, it has played on January 2.

The Mountaineer – Tiger match-up will offer some interesting subplots. Chief among those will be the presence of Tajh Boyd, a one-time West Virginia commitment. Boyd also committed to Tennessee before finally settling on Clemson, where he has had an outstanding season. Not including the ACC championship game, Boyd threw for 3,338 yards and 28 touchdowns against ten interceptions. He completed just a hair less than 60% of his throws, and also rushed for four touchdowns. The Tigers (#15 in the BCS rankings), also feature standout wide receiver Sammy Watson, who corralled 72 balls in the regular season for 1,073 yards and ten touchdowns.

West Virginia will be playing in the Orange Bowl for the first time in its history. The Mountaineers have played in five "major" bowls in their history. Included on the list are three Sugar Bowls and two Fiesta Bowls. Overall, this will be the 31st bowl in WVU history. The Mountaineers will be participating in a bowl for the 10th consecutive year.

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