New Era Pinstripe Bowl
TEAMS: West Virginia (7-5, 4-5 Big 12 Conference) vs. Syracuse (7-5, 5-2 Big East Conference)
TIME: Saturday Dec 29th, 3:15 p.m. EST
LAS VEGAS LINES: West Virginia -3.5; Over/Under 71.5 points
NOTE: This game preview and insight is provided by VBR colleague Chuck Reynolds
West Virginia and Syracuse met in football every year from 1955 through 2011-first as independents and then as Big East Football members from 1993 on. Starting in that year the two schools played for the Schwartzwalder trophy-which is somewhat surprising given that he coached at Syracuse. Both teams finished 7-5 this season-a disappointment to West Virginia but may be not to Syracuse.
This is by far the shortest road trip for West Virginia this season following their desperation move to the Big 12-a move that looks very short-sighted given the ACC acquiring Louisville earlier this month. Given the horrendous travel and an equally horrific defense that records is not really surprising when one looks a bit closer at WVU. Frankly the defense is awful. Throw out the last game against Kansas (who should be playing Colorado in the Toilet Bowl for worst BCS Conference team) and West Virginia didn’t stop anybody. As for the offense it is high-powered but turnover prone. And that is not good news with bad weather expected in NYC Saturday.
Syracuse is probably quietly pleased with its 7-5 record. This is a game BOB will no doubt be watching closely as Syracuse coach Doug Marrone is his best friend. Of course Syracuse is also Penn State’s opponent in next season’s opener. Syracuse like West Virginia is lead by its QB, Ryan Nassib, who although getting not nearly the publicity of Geno Smith threw for only 383 yards less than Smith this year.
You probably see where I am going with my prediction. In a mild upset Syracuse 34, West Virginia 27. And watch the attendance-if the Pinstripe Bowl cannot draw for this matchup its future is in doubt-unless starting in 2014 the bowl links up with a certain conference with 3 true Eastern schools.
West Virginia – 27
Syracuse – 34