Syracuse wins this game because it has to. No way the Orange rebound from 1-3, crush top 10 Louisville, and win on the road against an SEC school to lose to freakin' Temple.
Syracuse 31 - Temple 20
When you first look at Temple RB Montel Harris's numbers from last week, chances are you're a bit horrified to see he racked up 351 yards and seven scores against Army. Then you realize Army's ranked 122nd in the country in rushing yards allowed per game, with 238.3 against FBS competition. Syracuse is riding a ton of momentum after two straight wins, and as much as I may regret this, I can't see them losing to Temple. Maybe I'm buying in too much, but I do see a real turnaround in these guys. There's also the fun fact that the Owls allow 236 passing yards per game, and have let up 20 passing scores versus only four interceptions. With Ryan Nassib and Alec Lemon out there, you have to like our odds, no?
Syracuse 38, Temple 20
There is no way in hell anyone can bring me down after that crazy Missouri win. Listen, Temple isn't very good. Their running back put up video game numbers but that was against Army. The game will be close for sure with a banged up offense and defense but my money is on Syracuse playing like the Pitt game: grab an early lead and then hang on for dear life. Nassib should be able to put up some solid numbers and start the draft buzz early while Cuse hangs on for a 24-18 win.
On Thursday, my high school alma mater will play in the latest edition of the oldest high school football rivalry in the country -- Norwich Free Academy v. New London High School. The rivalry is full of all kinds of quirky tradition, from once having teachers sneak into the game to play to having a cousin, back in the sixties, drive his pick up truck onto the middle of the field during halftime -- unannounced -- and spear, with his buddies, a makeshift papier mache rendition of New London's mascot (a whale) lying in the flatbed. They subsequently fled from the police -- local sympathizers -- successfully.
On Friday, my undergraduate alma mater will play Temple. The Big East sure knows rivalry weekend tradition.
Syracuse wins, 1,645-8. That'll probably be a record.
The whole college football world is buzzing about Montel Harris of the 350 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, and it's deserving praise. He got the job done. But what most people are overlooking in their rush to slobber over Harris is that Army has probably the worst total rush defense in the country. They're third to last in the FBS in rushing yards allowed and second to last in rushing TDs allowed. So, I'm not scared of Montel Harris at all. Do I respect him? Absolutely. But I don't fear him any more than I feared Jawan Jamison or Ray Graham, and neither should the Orange. Syracuse just has to stick with what's gotten them to bowl eligibility. Play solid enough D to keep the game close enough until Nassib and Lemon can turn it on. It's easier said than done, I know, but after the last two games, there's no reason to think that they can't to it against the Owls.
Syracuse 35 - Temple 17
I think Syracuse has the momentum, now they just have to keep it rolling. Though Temple is supposedly an 'easier' opponent than most of the rest of the schedule, the Orange will want to stay sharp and try to improve their bowl status with one more regular season win. Also, a victory on Friday guarantees SU a winning record for the season, which is nothing to sneeze at considering their situation just a few short weeks ago.
Syracuse 31, Temple 13
I'm aware that there is a chance that the team comes out flat coming off of a big bowl-clinching upset on the road and having a short week, but I don't see it happening. Syracuse seems very dialed in, and I think it takes care of business on Friday. Statistically, we are the superior team in virtually every category. Temple's passing attack is incredibly limited, and for all we've discussed Montel Harris this week, Jerome Smith has rushed for 25 fewer yards this year, and that's after Harris' outburst against Army last week. If Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley can't go, we get to see what Ashton Broyld can do with significant carries, and I thought Adonis Ameen-Moore looked good running the ball last week, even when not in the tank package. Their leading receiver has three more yards than our fourth leading receiver Beckett Wales, who has 330. Even with 11 banged up starters, we should have enough depth and enough momentum built up to do what we need to do against the Owls, and head into December with seven wins.
Syracuse 38 - Temple 17
The same Syracuse fan in me who couldn't pick the Orange to win last week also doesn't want to pick them this week. Three wins in a row? Two road wins in a row? A win with "nothing to play for?" Old Syracuse loses this game for sure. Or at least plays down to Temple's level.
Not New Syracuse, I think. I think this team has finally found it's groove and more importantly KNOWS how good it is. I think there's a statement to be made here and I expect this team to make it. NFL Draft statuses are officially on a lot of people's minds...
Syracuse 34 - Temple 21