Ah yes, the Camping World Bowl. A favorite of many the day after Christmas on Boxing Day. Why go out and battle the crowds when you can stay home and watch the Camping World Bowl. This is probably what was going through Will Grier’s head when he passed up on playing in this game. As you likely know already, West Virginia starting quarterback, Will Grier, will pass on this contest to prepare for the Senior Bowl and NFL Draft.
While this is a pointless game on paper, I think the bowl committee got this one right when they invited West Virginia and Syracuse. Some people don’t want to see it simply because this is replay of what used to be the Big East. West Virginia joined the Big 12 and Syracuse joined the ACC.
Cuse likely had a better chance of winning a conference championship in the old Big East Conference, but they are getting more attention playing in the ACC. Dino Babers has been good for getting his team prepared to score an upset over superior teams since arriving in New York. However, he’s failed to put together a quality campaign together until this season. 9-3 in the ACC isn’t impressive many people, though I would say that’s a win for the Orange going into their bowl. They can make it even more impressive with a win over West Virginia on Friday.
West Virginia will be down their starting quarterback, but the Orange are going to be without two starting defensive linemen in this contest. The Mountaineers will not have to worry about Alton Robinson coming off the edge. He has recorded 10 sacks for 2nd in the ACC. Nose tackle McKinley Williams will also be sitting this one out. Babers hasn’t commented on why they aren’t playing, but it might be a safe bet to say they don’t want to risk playing in this game either.
Both are eligible for the draft in April. The Mountaineers may alternate between Jack Allison and Trey Lowe against Syracuse. WVU runs out of the spread set with a lot of short passes that seeks to open up the secondary. It’s the kind of offense that might be easier for inexperienced quarterbacks to get a handle on. I’m not so high on Grier in the NFL, as I feel he’s more of a by-product of an offensive scheme at WVU, but we’ll see if that rings true in the coming years. Get our free West Virginia vs. Syracuse pick in the Camping World Bowl below.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Syracuse Orange Camping World Bowl Betting Odds:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
West Virginia vs. Syracuse Pick:
Grier does not want to play in this game, but there’s a guy on the other side who is likely going to be excited about playing in a bowl game. Eric Dungey will play his final college game on Friday. He might have a shot at the NFL as a late round selection or undrafted rookie, but his road to catching on a roster is going to be tough.
Dungey is a dual-threat quarterback that excels when he has the ball in his hands running. He can also hurl it, as we’ve seen with 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, but the real danger for defenses if when he takes off running downfield. Dungey has rushed for 732 yards with 15 touchdowns on the ground. He is awfully similar to Sam Ehlinger from Texas. The Mountaineers beat the Longhorns, but not before giving up 41 points in a 42-41 game. Ehlinger threw for 3 touchdowns and rushed for another.
West Virginia is banged up at linebacker, so this could open up a can of issues for the Mountaineers defensively. The Mountaineers finished 74th with 405 yards allowed per game. I don’t expect them to be particularly excited to slow down the Cuse offense. Conversely, Dungey is going to be amped up to finish out his career in a bowl game and put some good work on tape.
The Orange are 17th in the FBS with 468 yards per game and 10th in points with a whopping 40.8 points scored per game. Minus a poor performance against a really good Notre Dame defense, Syracuse have averaged 47 points per game in their previous four games. West Virginia are slightly ahead with 42.3 points per game overall this season for 9th in the country, but again, will be without Grier at quarterback.
Allison has completed just 6 balls on 10 attempts for a touchdown and interception in his career. He’s the pro-style quarterback, while Lowe is more of a dual-threat. With that said, it does make preparing for their offense a little tricky. While it’s likely Allison starts and WVU sees where it goes from there, Lowe is making the Orange prepare for a mobile quarterback as well.
Syrcause are 91st in the nation on defense, with a 111th ranking against the pass. Windows will be open to complete some passes, they’re just going to have to execute. I expect West Virginia to be able to rip off some big plays even with a backup starting.
David Sills playing is going to make it a lot easier on the Mountaineers to move the ball. The total in this game was around 74 before Grier announced he wasn’t playing, but I think this provides some better value at 67. Look for Allison and Lowe to be motivated to put on a good show to get a head start on the starting job for next season. This is essentially just an extra game for Holgorsen to evaluate, and without Syracuse’s best pass rusher, it should provide a comfier game for his quarterbacks. This should be a fun game to watch with a 41-35 or 38-35 final score.