After a surprisingly great season, the No. 17 Syracuse Orange (9-3, 6-2) close out 2018 in the Camping World Bowl against the No. 15 West Virginia Mountaineers (8-3, 6-3). We’re pretty familiar with WVU, obviously, though also haven’t faced them since the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl — an Orange win, by the way.
The ‘Eers started off as seven-point favorites in this game, but after Will Grier announced he wasn’t playing, that line swung the other direction. SU is now favored by 2.5 points. They’re 8-4 against the spread this year, while West Virginia is 6-3-2.
Everything gets started at 5:15 p.m. ET from Orlando, Fla. (or ESPN/WatchESPN for those of us watching from home). Before the game kicks off, however, the TNIAAM staff predicts what might happen in this one...
Syracuse 42, WVU 31
Eric Dungey is not Kyler Murray, but he is similar, in the sense that he knows how to use his legs. Murray gave the Mountaineers fits on the ground and Dungey should do no different. I’m expecting a solid performance for Dungey before he hangs up his Orange cleats at the end of this. As I’m sure everyone else is mentioning, the lack of Grier, Cajuste and Jennings Jr. should hamper the WVU offense, and I think Kingsley Jonathan and the combination of Kayton Samuels, Josh Black and Kenneth Ruff (who I really liked late in the season and is a bright spot behind Chris Slayton graduating), get theirs, resulting in plenty of pressure, even without Robinson and Williams.
Syracuse 35, WVU 31
The Mountaineers are definitely at a disadvantage without Will Grier under center. Syracuse’s offense at full strength is certainly enough to inflict significant damage on one of the most Big 12-ish Big 12 defenses. With Grier playing, West Virginia probably has the firepower to win a barnburner. But without him, the Orange will probably edge them out.
Syracuse 51, WVU 48
There’s going to be a TON of offense in this one as WVU can’t stop a lot on the ground or in the air. Syracuse won’t have the same push up front due to the absence of Alton Robinson and McKinley Williams, so even with a two QB system, I think WVU finds ways to score. I’m most worries that the dual threat option shreds ‘Cuse consistently, leaving Eric Dungey to win this one for the Orange. Even if the score is lower, I think Dungey takes home MVP honors with at least 3 rushing touchdowns and another 2 in the air and ends his career on a high note.
Syracuse 38, WVU 35
While Syracuse’s playing without Alton Robinson and McKinley Williams will no doubt be a major issue, I just don’t see how West Virginia can keep with the Orange offensively. The Mountaineers will still likely be able to score, and who knows, maybe going with a two-quarterback system to replace Will Grier will cause major problems for the depleted Syracuse defensive front line. But something tells me that Dino Babers, having a month to prepare, will be able to put Eric Dungey and company in the right position to exploit the porous WVU defense, which ranks 292nd in the nation in points allowed. Points should be a plenty and SU should have just a bit more by the time it’s all done in Orlando.
Syracuse 38, WVU 30
The ‘Eers missing Will Grier and Greg Jennings takes some of the firepower off the field and probably slows us from a torrid offensive pace from both teams. But nonetheless, there will be plenty of points in this one. Syracuse will need to start fast and then bank on a strong situational defense to make up for the decreased pass rush effectiveness. I think that’s enough to send Eric Dungey and the rest of these seniors out on a high note, however.
Now it’s your turn...
What will happen in the Camping World Bowl?
This poll is closed
Syracuse wins its 10th game of the year!!!
Syracuse loses and we still had a hell of a run