What They're Saying...: Buckeyes an early favorite in QB battle

SEFTON IPOCK/INDEPENDENT MAIL PHOTO
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd attempts a pass against Wake Forest at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Dabo Swinney says the team knows how to win but doesn’t always have to play great on offense to do it. The Tigers had a bit of both on Saturday in trouncing Wake Forest 56-7.

Photo by Sefton Ipock, Independent Mail

SEFTON IPOCK/INDEPENDENT MAIL PHOTO Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd attempts a pass against Wake Forest at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Dabo Swinney says the team knows how to win but doesn’t always have to play great on offense to do it. The Tigers had a bit of both on Saturday in trouncing Wake Forest 56-7.

Clemson's in its most nationally-anticipated bowl game since, well, last year, but with a little bit more hype.

Both CBS and Yahoo! have the '13 Orange Bowl as the third-best bowl in the lot.

"I've enjoyed the way people have been disparaging Ohio State the last few days," CBS' Tom Fornelli writes. "Apparently going 24-1 over a two year span with your only loss being to a top 10 team with the best defense in the country means you suck these days. Anyway, this game should be pretty great as it features two of the best quarterbacks and offenses in the country."

The quarterbacks determining the outcome is a common theme among national pundits.

"Who's going to be the best quarterback on the field, Clemson's Tajh Boyd or Ohio State's Braxton Miller?" Graham Watson asks rhetorically. "The answer to that question will likely give us the winner of the game as well."

"The game will be decided by quarterback play, with Miller spearheading Ohio State's ferocious running game and Boyd headlining the Tigers' top-ranked passing game," USA Today's Paul Myerberg writes. "Will the first team to 40 points win? Or will more be needed?"

ESPN says the Ohio State running game packs a punch as well.

"The combined star power of Meyer, quarterback Braxton Miller, running back Carlos Hyde and linebacker Ryan Shazier still made Ohio State plenty attractive for a BCS bowl," Austin Ward said, "and it will have a marquee opportunity to post an impressive victory and cap what has still been a record-setting season for the program.

"Few teams have been as explosive as the Buckeyes offensively, with both Miller and Hyde rushing for more than 1,000 yards and causing defenses fits with the zone-option attack. And while the passing game has regressed during the final month of the season, Miller has still come a long way as a passer."

And yes, the picks are starting to roll in.

College Football News: "There's a chance for Ohio State to finish in the top four in the final rankings, depending on what happens in the other big games, while for Clemson, after the tremendous win over LSU in last year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl, this could be another shot at legitimacy after failing miserably in two of the three big games this year. Gut-reaction pick: OSU 38-13."

Four of six on SB Nation's paneltakes the Buckeyes as well.

Underdog ACC

Not surprisingly, Clemson's conference will have something to prove this bowl season.

A record 11 teams both were eligible and found postseason landing spots, but depending on where you look, the ACC is underdogs in 9-of-11 games. Your favorites? Florida State, by eight points over Auburn in Pasadena, and North Carolina (-2.5) over Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl.

The Tigers (+2.5) are one of four teams as three or less point underdogs.

The ACC led the Big Five conferences with a 4-2 record last bowl season, going 4-0 in its top-four affiliations. In those top four bowls this year (BCS title game, Orange, CFA, Sun), that would require two touchdown or more dogs to win (Duke +13 v. Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and Virginia Tech +7 v. UCLA in the Sun Bowl).

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Comments » 1

TigerNE writes:

You can never predict which Logan Thomas will show up, but VT can provide as good and as strong a defense as any UCLA has seen in PAC play. Beamer magic could be a big factor here. Even though they lost some easy games this season, they won some that early on looked like sure losses. I'll take the points and VT in that one.

And with TAMU's famously erratic defense, Duke could keep up with Johnny Football and the scoreboard. That is another possible upset.

Not mentioned here is GT (+2.5) against Ole Miss. There's another possible upset. Ole Miss hasn't proven to be prolific on either side of the ball and certainly will have their hands full with a slow, methodical, option offense. I think it will be a close game, but GT could pull out a win.

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