The countdown to the semifinal games has begun, and we’re now just under one week away from seeing the four top teams in college football take the field. Before that happens, there are still several fun bowl games to tune into, including the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, Florida, featuring the Syracuse Orange and West Virginia Mountaineers, a pair of up-tempo, high-flying offenses.
Spread: WVU -1.5
The Orange offense ran in the capable hands of senior quarterback Eric Dungey. Dungey completed 60 percent of his passes for over 2,500 yards while adding another 732 on the ground and combining for 32 total touchdowns. He was the second-leading rusher on the team, with junior running back Moe Neal finishing with 823 yards on 145 carries. The offense was top 50 in explosiveness (1.20 IsoPPP), and they generally started off with the best field position in the country, beginning drives at their own 35. Defensively, the Orange were solid, with the exception of giving up big plays, which they found themselves in the bottom 30 of the country in IsoPPP (1.26).
That’s not great news when facing a West Virginia offense that battered opponents in that metric this season (1.34 IsoPPP on offense, 9th FBS). Quarterback Will Grier (67%, 3,864 yards 37 TD) combined with receivers David Sills V and Gary Jennings (115 catches 1,813 yards, 28 TDs combined) to form a potent passing attack. Add in the running back trio of Kennedy McKoy, Martell Pettaway and Leddie Brown, and defenses throughout the season dreaded facing the Mountaineers.
West Virginia’s problem came on the defensive side of the ball, where opponents moved up and down the field against WVU with ease all season. In their final two games, in particular, WVU gave up 45 and 59 points to the Oklahoma schools in a pair of losses. That bodes well for Syracuse, as they try to keep pace in this game, and also gives you an indication of why the over/under is so high.
Speaking of which, the Mountaineers are slight favorites in this game, and as such this season, they went 6-3-1 against the spread. Syracuse was 4-1 as an underdog, so both teams have played their roles well this season. The biggest problem for the Mountaineers is Grier won’t play in this game, as he prepares for the NFL Draft. That’s good news for the Orange, who we’ll take here. Syracuse +1.5; Over 66.5