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5 Reasons To Watch The Discover Orange Bowl

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Reasons To Watch Discover Orange Bowl

5 Reasons To Watch 2014 Discover Orange Bowl
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Clemson Tigers will meet in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 3 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Both of these teams once had a legitimate shot at playing in the National Championship, but after each suffered a loss those hopes were dismantled, leading them to now meet in a less prestigious BCS bowl game.

Both of these teams are led by experienced quarterbacks as the Buckeyes have Braxton Miller, who is still weighing his NFL decision, and the Tigers have Tajh Boyd is who prepping to play his last collegiate game. Aside from Boyd there are numerous players on each team that will be declaring for the NFL draft after this game, meaning there will be plenty of players looking to improve their stock once the first whistle blows.

Because of the sanctions that came down during the Jim Tressel era, this will be the first time Urban Meyer will be leading his Buckeyes into a bowl game. That means these players will come into this game with a bit of a chip on their shoulder as they finished last season undefeated, and nearly did the same this year before losing to Michigan State in the Big 10 Championship Game.

For Clemson, however, this could be the beginning of the end. Boyd has been the team’s starter for three years now, and with Sammy Watkins and Vic Beasley expected to enter the draft as well, this is possibly the last go around for a Clemson squad that will struggle to contend in the ACC next season.

Nick Baker is a contributing writer for Rant Sports and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.

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Tajh Boyd's Final Collegiate Game

Tajh Boyd's Final Collegiate Game
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

As the holder of many Clemson and ACC passing records, college football fans will be sad to see Tajh Boyd go. The last few seasons he’s been blessed with talented wide receivers which has allowed him to lead some of the most dangerous offenses in all of college football. Boyd, however, is only 1-2 in bowl games, and this year was hit with the label of not being able to win the big game. He can change this image quite easily with a win over the Buckeyes to close out his collegiate career and give him a huge boost heading towards the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.

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Braxton Miller's NFL Decision

Braxton Miller's NFL Decision
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Braxton Miller has let it be known he’s still torn on whether or not he’ll enter the upcoming NFL Draft. He says he believes he’s ready, but the decision may depend on where he’s projected to be taken. However, a great performance against a solid Clemson defense is something that could skyrocket Miller’s draft stock and ultimately help him decide on declaring for the draft. A lack luster performance could signal a return to Ohio State next season however, meaning this bowl game is an important one for Miller, and the Buckeyes going forward.

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Bradley Roby vs. Sammy Watkins

Bradley Roby vs. Sammy Watkins
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Sammy Watkins is the highlight reel receiver, whereas Bradley Roby is the fundamental cornerback that is solid across the board. While Ohio State will likely play some zone defense to switch up their looks, you can expect to see Roby and Watkins square off a few times come Friday night. Watkins’ speed makes him a threat to score every time he touches the ball, and if Roby can limit his ability to run after the catch, this game could greatly shift to favor the Buckeyes.

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ACC or Big 10?

ACC or Big 10?
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1 ACC team is playing for the National Championship, and Michigan State is playing in the Rose Bowl because of their recent victory over the Buckeyes. This means the No. 2 teams in both the ACC and Big 10 are playing in the Discover Orange Bowl and the victor will want to take the title of playing in the better conference. This is just the second meeting between an ACC and Big 10 school this bowl season, and with the Syracuse Orange beating the Minnesota Golden Gophers just a week ago, a Buckeyes victory would even the score and leave the topic to debate.

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Carlos Hyde and Buckeyes Ground Game

Carlos Hyde and Buckeyes Ground Game
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Hyde has emerged as a legitimate threat at running back this season, and paired up with Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes posses one of the most dominant rushing attacks in all of college football. While they like taking chances deep through the air, expect Hyde to get plenty of carries in hopes him or Miller can break a big one on the ground. Clemson did a great job shutting down Andre Williams from Boston College this season, but the combo of Hyde and Miller may be too much to handle.