West Virginia vs. Syracuse
Sat., Dec. 29 – 3:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Bronx, N.Y. – Yankee Stadium
With all the wacky conference realignment continuing to go on across the country, maybe this third-year baby bowl is on to something. Perhaps reuniting rivals that don’t have time for each other anymore will be the wave of the future, replacing the rigid, yet random business of having lame conference tie ins.
This will be the 60th time that the Mountaineers and Orange collide, but this time its for the Steinbrenner Trophy instead of the Schwartzwalder Trophy. And who knows when it will happen again.
West Virginia (7-5) shouldn’t have any trouble getting up for this game. Most of the Mounties were around last year to experience the embarrassing 49-23 loss to the Orange, and all of them are looking to further distance themselves from the five-game losing streak that short-circuited this campaign.
Syracuse (7-5), which played in the first football game ever played at the original Yankee Stadium in 1923, will be trying to keep a lid on West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who returned to his early-season form in the 59-10 victory over Kansas, completing 23-of-24 for 407 yards and three touchdowns.
The Big East co-champion Orange have a dangerous quarterback of their own in senior Ryan Nassib, who has thrown for 3,619 yards and 24 scores this season.
This will be high-flying shootout and everyone knows you can’t trust the Mountaineer defense in one of those.
Opening point spread: West Virginia by 3 1/2
The pick: Syracuse 42-38
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