Fearless Picks: West Virginia – Mountaineers – Syracuse Orangemen

Fearless Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers – Syracuse Orangemen

It seems, over the past few years, that West Virginia’s football team doesn’t play to its fullest potential as a favorite, but when in an underdog role it sometimes comes up with better-than-expected performances. If that pattern holds true for the Camping World Bowl, many Mountaineer fans will have something to salve the wounds from the last two regular season games, as our panel mostly sees a motivational letdown and player absences as key factors in their predicted outcomes.

Bill Gleason

Last Game: W     Season Record: 9-2     Point Differential: 189

I have chosen to skip picking the results of this exhibition game to focus on my professional career. I wish everyone at BGN and Mountaineer nation good luck against Syracuse.

Interviewing For New Positions

Chris Richardson

Last Week: W     Season Record: 9-2     Point Differential: 183

The Mountaineers were trending downward in November, particularly on the defensive side of the football. A matchup against a high octane offense with a mobile quarterback is not a favorable one for the Mountaineers, and that’s exactly what they’ll face in Orlando. Dino Babers has done a masterful job in building the Orange, and a win here gives the program its first 10-win season since 2001. Syracuse has been the better team this season, and is the better team on this day, too.

Syracuse 44-38

Brian Jolliff

Last Week: W     Season Record: 9-2     Point Differential: 209

Like many, I will presume, I’m not going into this bowl game with much confidence, especially considering some major areas where West Virginia will be lacking some of its key play-makers. But while I lack confidence, I am looking forward to getting a glimpse of where the future of WVU football will be for the next few years as we see four quarters of quarterback tryouts. I’m less worried about the outcome of the game but more interested in seeing what the future of the Mountaineers may be. I’m hoping for a bowl game miracle and ending the season on a high note, but I’m just not feeling it.

Syracuse 38-24

Jeff Cobb

Last Week: W     Season Record: 9-2     Point Differential: 209

As it always goes with bowl games, the key is to figure out which team is more motivated. Of course, everyone is lamenting the fact that Will Grier isn’t playing, as well Yodny Cajuste and Gary Jennings. But the way I look at it, obviously those guys wouldn’t have given their all even if they were playing in the bowl game, because their focus and attention is elsewhere. Perhaps it’s better that there are some younger kids now playing (Jack Allison, Kelby Wickline, Sam James, etc.) that will use this bowl game to impress coaches heading into next season? An audition of sorts, if you will — players who will hustle and strain and give that extra effort. But there’s also the fear that the star senior players abandoning the team might fracture the unity or chemistry of the team. So I’m not sure what to expect from this Mountaineer team at this point. My gut tells me that Syracuse has more to play for, but my heart always says it’s WVU, baby.

West Virginia 38-33

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Jane Donovan

Last Week: W     Season Record: 9-2     Point Differential: 222

And so we come to the end of a topsy-turvy football season, one full of long-bomb highlights, a hurricane cancellation, and three true disappointments. Our old friends at SorryExcuse U are wimping out about the Schwartzwalder Trophy, which is disappointing but not really surprising. We have so much history with the Orange. Until Nike took over the costuming for Oregon, the one thing you could count on when you played Syracuse was that they would show up in the ugliest uniforms in all of college football. I hope they still do. HCDH probably doesn’t know the Legend of Marvin Graves, but I’ll bet Tony Gibson does, and I hope he uses it to good effect in bowl preparation, dadgummit.

West Virginia 24-21

Greg Hunter

Last Week: W     Season Record: 8-3     Point Differential: 193

I saw the prequel to this movie – it was called the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Same subplot with Grier and Cajuste missing in action, and the ending for WVU in Dallas was miserable. I’m afraid this one is headed in the same direction.

Syracuse 35-28

Jonathan Martin

Last Week: W     Season Record: 8-3     Point Differential: 194

Going into the bowl game you felt as though West Virginia was disappointed. They wanted a Big 12 title game with hopes of a big named bowl. They landed – and settled – for Orlando. Then news came of multiple Mountaineers not playing and all appears to be bleak.

There appears to be too many obstacles standing in the way. The Mountaineers will keep it competitive but unlikely they find a way to win.

Syracuse 38-24

Andy Easton

Last Week: W     Season Record: 7-4     Point Differential: 199

This isn’t a Greg Robinson, Doug Marrone or Scott Shafer-lead Syracuse team, Dino Babers has the Orange program headed in the right direction after struggling the last two seasons. The Orange were outmatched in only one game this year, a 36-3 loss to CFP-bound Notre Dame. They also lost by four to Clemson and took Pitt to overtime before losing.

With Will Grier, Gary Jennings and Yodny Cajuste playing I think WVU would win by one or two scores, but without the Mountaineer leader behind center it might be a long day for the Blue and Gold faithful.

Syracuse 35-24

One thought on “Fearless Picks: West Virginia – Mountaineers – Syracuse Orangemen

  1. I don’t think the score will be as close as they predict here, unfortunately we will probably be on the short end of a rout

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