Syracuse -1 (o/u 66.5) vs West Virginia
#20 Syracuse (9-3) comes into this game with a little bit of momentum. They won 5 of its last 6 games with the lone loss coming against the undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend by a score of 36-3. Combined with the earlier season loss to #2 Clemson 27-23 and a disappointing loss to Pitt by a touchdown in Pittsburgh, Syracuse made clear they could play with almost anyone in the country. The Orange showed great balance on offense with a passing game that ranked 68th in the country (261.5 YPG) and a running game that ranked 62nd in the nation (206.4 YPG). Eric Dungey was a force on the ground, rushing for 732 yards and 15 TDs. Where Syracuse struggled was on defense against teams in the upper echelon.
While a record of 8-3 is respectable, it should be noted West Virginia played a soft schedule, ending up 1-2 against the three ranked teams they faced. Of course, one of those losses was against #4 Oklahoma in a real barn-burner and shootout with a final score of 59-56. West Virginia’s offense was among the best in the country, finishing the season ranked 14th with 520.4 YPG. While the running game was effective, it was the passing game (8th in the nation) that led the way behind QB Will Grier, who completed 67% of his passes for 3,864 yards and 37 TDs and only 8 INTs. The defense was vulnerable against good passing teams.
Prediction: West Virginia’s Grier will come out firing against a Syracuse secondary that has at times struggled against elite QBs. Syracuse will counter with its balanced offense, which figures to cause trouble for the West Virginia defense. There’s a good chance this game boils down to the team with the best player on the field. That’s Grier. Play West Virginia +1