First, some predictions from around the Intertube:
This game is going to be an air show. The difference will be who can outlast the other team and not throw interceptions. While I do not think Paulus will throw nearly as many, he will probably toss one up when he shouldn’t. Either way, West Virginia is just a slightly better team right now than Syracuse is. So I think that this game will go much like last week, although probably not as tragic or lopsided. Syracuse will make a respectable showing on the scoreboard. Hell, Syracuse might even win this. I’m just not that confident, and therefore will stick with my original pre-season call of the loss here. Syracuse loses to West Virginia 35 to 24.
ESPN's Brian Bennett cribs off Brian (or vice versa)...
The Orange defense is much better, but it also gave up big plays in the passing game to South Florida last week. That's not a good sign with a much more explosive Mountaineers offense coming to sprint on the Carrier Dome turf. Greg Paulus and Mike Williams will hook up for some major gains against the leaky West Virginia back line, but Syracuse can't win a track meet against Jarrett Brown, Noel Devine and Co. -- proving that those guys hang on to the ball this time. West Virginia 35, Syracuse 24.
The general consensus does indeed seem to be that Syracuse will keep it close but West Virginia will win. Is it me or is that every prediction for Syracuse since the Penn State game? Well I for one have had it! I'm just as guilty as the rest and I fear that it's our predictions that are causing the Orange to fall short in games such as the South Florida and Minnesota ones.
West Virginia gives plenty of reasons for Syracuse fans to worry. But that doesn't automatically mean we should be shaking in our boots. Despite all of the turnovers and with a defensive line harder, faster, better and stronger than anything we could offer, South Florida still only beat us by two scores. Imagine what that game looks like if Syracuse keeps their hands on their balls. Wait, I didn't mean...
Yes, Syracuse can hang with West Virginia. But gosh heck darnit all, Syracuse can beat West Virginia as well. You certainly wouldn't be shocked if they did, right? Doug Marrone's brought us to this point, there's no reason we can take that next step into winning challenging Big East games against good opponents.
Besides, I really want that f***ing trophy back.
Syracuse 30, West Virginia 28