College Football Picks Pinstripe Bowl: West Virginia Mountaineers vs Syracuse Orange

2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Saturday, December 29, 2012, 3:15 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
West Virginia Mountaineers vs Syracuse Orange
Yankee Stadium – The Bronx, New York
Opening Line: West Virginia -3 1/2
Current Line: West Virginia -3 1/2
Opening Total: 73 1/2
Current Total: 73 1/2
Opening Money Line: West Virginia -165 / Syracuse +145
Current Money Line: West Virginia -170 / Syracuse +150

West Virginia takes on former Big East rival Syracuse in Saturday’s Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. The Mountaineers are 3.5 point favorites.

The West Virginia Mountaineers were members of the Big East for many years before leaving for the Big 12 this season. Ironically, their first bowl game as a member of the Big 12 is against former Big East rival the Syracuse Orange. Both teams are 7-5 this season and will meet in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium Saturday. Syracuse leads the series 32-27 and has won 2 straight. The Orange won at home last year 49-23 against the Mountaineers.

West Virginia is 14-17 all-time in bowl games. The Mountaineers are playing in their 16th bowl since 1994. West Virginia crushed Clemson 70-33 in last year’s Orange Bowl. Syracuse is 13-9-1 all-time in bowl games. The Orange missed out on a Bowl last year, but beat Kansas St 36-34 in this bowl in 2010.

West Virginia was 4-5 in the Big 12. The Mountaineers are coached by Dana Holgorsen. After a 5-0 start, West Virginia lost 5 straight games. The Mountaineers won their last two games of the season to get to 7-5 and become bowl eligible. West Virginia has road losses at Texas Tech 49-14, and Oklahoma St 55-34, along with home losses to Kansas St 55-14, TCU 39-38 in overtime, and Oklahoma 50-49.  The Mountaineers have home wins over Marshall 69-34, James Madison 42-12 (at Landover, MD), Maryland 31-21, Baylor 70-63 and Kansas 59-10 to close out the regular season, along with road wins at Texas 48-45 and Iowa St 31-24. West Virginia is 5-7 ATS and the total is 6-5 this season.

West Virginia is averaging 518.5 yards per game including 340.7 passing yards and 177.8 rushing yards. The Mountaineers are #8 in total offense and #5 passing nationally. West Virginia is outscoring teams 42-38 this season. The Mountaineers are #7 in scoring offense, but #116 in scoring defense out of 124 teams. The Mountaineers are +6 in turnovers with 12 giveaways. West Virginia has allowed 20 sacks this year, and averages 46 penalty yards per game. The Mountaineers are 97/204 on third and fourth down conversions and 49/58 scoring in the red zone  scoring in the red zone with 41 touchdowns. While the West Virginia offense is one of the best in the country, the defense is one of the worst. The Mountaineers are giving up 469.6 yards per game including 327.1 passing yards and 142.5 rushing yards. West Virginia is 110th in total offense and 123rd against the pass out of 124 teams. The rush defense is #41, but when teams can do so much damage through the air they really don’t have to run against the Mountaineers. WVU has forced 18 turnovers and 21 sacks. Mountaineer opponents are 93/198 on third and fourth down conversions and 49/58 scoring in the red zone with 39 touchdowns. West Virginia has 2 special teams and 2 defensive touchdowns this season.

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has completed 350 of 490 passes (71.4%) for 4,004 yards with 40 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, along with 63 carries, 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back Andrew Buie has 172 carries for 817 yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 27 catches for 319 yards. Shawne Alston has 67 carries, 371 yards and 7 touchdowns. Dustin Garrison has 46 carries for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 43 yards.

Receiver Stedman Bailey has 106 catches, 1,501 yards and 23 touchdowns. Tavon Austin has 110 catches, 1,259 yards and 12 touchdowns, along with 61 carries for 598 yards and 3 touchdowns. Austin has 2,760 all-purpose yards, and a  kickoff and a punt return for  touchdowns. J.D. Woods has 56 catches, 596 yards and 4 touchdowns. Four defensive players are listed as questionable or out.

Syracuse is coached by Doug Marrone. The Orange were one of four teams that tied for the Big East title with a 5-2 record, along with Louisville, Rutgers, and Cincinnati. Louisville won the tiebreaker by virtue of being the only team ranked in the final BCS standings and the Cardinals got a trip to the Sugar Bowl against Florida. Syracuse has won 5 of their last 6 games including 3 in a row after a 2-4 start. The Orange have road losses at Minnesota 17-10, Rutgers 23-15, and Cincinnati 35-24, and home losses to Northwestern, 42-41 and USC 42-29 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. All losses are to teams that made bowl games. Syracuse has home wins over Stony Brook 28-17, Pittsburgh 14-13, UConn 40-10 and Louisville 45-26, and road wins over South Florida 37-36, Missouri 31-27 and Temple 38-20 to close out the regular season. Syracuse is 6-5-1 ATS and the total is 7-3-1 this season.

Syracuse is averaging 473.4 yards per game on offense, including 300.6 passing yards and 172.8 rushing yards. The Orange are #22 in passing nationally and #21 in total offense. Syracuse is outscoring teams 29-26 this season. The Orange are +1 in turnovers with 19 giveaways this season. Syracuse is averaging 69 penalty yards per game and has allowed 14 sacks this season. The Orange are 106/210 on third and fourth down conversions and 44/53 scoring in the red zone with 34 touchdowns. On defense, Syracuse is allowing 385 yards per game, including 236.9 passing yards, and 148.1 rushing yards. Syracuse has forced 24 sacks and 20 turnovers this season. Orange opponents are 67/174 on third and fourth down conversions, and 32/37 scoring in the red zone with 22 touchdowns.

Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib has completed 283 of 448 passes (63.2%) for 3,619 yards with 24 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, along with 77 carries, 129 carries, and 2 rushing touchdowns. He has taken every snap for the Orange this season, and has been sacked 14 times. Running back Jerome Smith has 198 carries, 1,019 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 8 catches for 83 yards. Prince-Tyson Gulley has 132 catches, 617 yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 28 catches, 226 yards and a touchdown. Ashton Broyld has 36 carries, 171 yards and a touchdown, along with 7 catches for 53 yards. Adonis Ameen-Moore has 30 carries and 5 touchdowns. He is suspended for the bowl game for violating team rules

Receiver Alec Lemon has 70 catches for 1,063 yards and 7 touchdowns.  Marcus Sales has 63 catches, 863 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Jarrod West has 42 catches, 571 yards and 2 touchdowns. Beckett Wales has 32 catches, 350 yards and a touchdown. Jeremiah Kobena and Christopher Clark each have two touchdown catches.

West Virginia is 4-1 ATS on grass, 7-2 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 3-1-1 in December, 7-3-1 against Big East teams, 4-9 after allowing less than 275 total yards, 3-7 against teams with winning records, 5-12-1 after a win of 20 points or more, 1-4 in neutral site games, and 0-4 after gaining more than 450 yards.

Syracuse is 5-1 ATS overall, 4-1 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 4-9 after a straight up win, 3-7 after a cover, 1-4 against teams with winning records, and 1-7-1 after gaining more than 450 yards. The underdog is 5-2 ATS in this series recently.

This should be an exciting offensive game unless heavy snow hits New York by the weekend. That is a possibility, but still neither of these defenses are that great, especially West Virginia who has one of the worst defenses in the country. Syracuse struggled early in the season but rebounded nicely, while it was just the opposite for West Virginia. Ilike Syracuse to pull off the upset in a shootout.

Our expert college football picks will help you crush the bookies this season. We have winners for every bowl game.

 

 


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