West Virginia vs. Syracuse Predictions: 2012 Pinstripe Bowl 12/29

Last Updated: December 28th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Pinstripe Bowl LogoThe 2012 Pinstripe Bowl picks are going to be difficult to make, as the West Virginia Mountaineers and Syracuse Orange are set to do battle with one another in a Big XII vs. Big East battle. Check out our Pinstripe Bowl predictions and the keys to the game for West Virginia vs. Syracuse.

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2012 Pinstripe Bowl: West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Syracuse Orange
2012 Pinstripe Bowl Location: New Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
2012 Pinstripe Bowl Date/Time: Saturday, December 29th, 3:15 p.m. (ET)
2012 Pinstripe Bowl Television Coverage: ESPN, Watch ESPN

Key #1: These two teams have to weather the weather
We’ve always wondered if this was going to turn out to be the case in a bowl game here at Yankee Stadium, and we’re going to be getting some awfully fun weather as a result. It’s going to be snowy and cold in the Bronx, and the team that is going to win this game is going to be the one that adapts better to the conditions. Even though Syracuse is a team that plays its ball further north than this, it does take to games in the Carrier Dome, where it is always 72 degrees. West Virginia has already had a few games in which it has had to bare the elements, namely in a 59-10 win over the Kansas Jayhawks in Morgantown. Receivers have to make sure that they are wearing the right cleats and have the proper gloves on, and both quarterbacks are going to have to make sure that they keep a good grasp on the football, and whichever team executes that facet of the game better is going to be the one that ultimately goes on to win the Pinstripe Bowl in all likelihood.

Pinstripe Bowl Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
West Virginia Mountaineers -3.5
Syracuse Orange +3.5
Over/Under 72.5
Click Here to Bet Your Pinstripe Bowl Picks!

Key #2: The Syracuse secondary has to be ready for a war
It’s not so much that the West Virginia wide receivers have to be stopped, because there is just no way to actually stop both WR Tavon Austin and WR Stedman Bailey. The trick is figuring out how to contain them and to try to make someone else beat you if you’re the Orange. Syracuse’s secondary isn’t all that bad, as this unit ranked a modest 65th in the country against the pass this year, allowing 236.9 yards per game. The problem that we see though, is the fact that some of the best receivers in the nation have blown this secondary up. WR Robert Woods and WR Marqise Lee combined for 21 catches, 159 yards, and five TDs when the USC Trojans came to town earlier this year in the most comparable game. Stopping Bailey and Austin is just impossible, knowing that the two men combined this year to average the following stat line: 17.9 receptions, 230.6 receiving yards, 49.8 rushing yards, 85.9 return yards, and a total of 3.3 touchdowns per game. Those are numbers that are just out of this world for sure, and these two make up the best tandem of receivers this side of Woods and Lee in the nation.

Key #3: Ryan Nassib has to be prepared to throw for four bills
QB Ryan Nassib threw for 3,607 yards this year to go with 24 TDs, but he has to be prepared to really slug it out with QB Geno Smith and the West Virginia offense. This defense has shown its ability to give up points in bunches this year, and the team did allow just slews of points to teams with significantly less talented offenses. Nassib is going to have a lot on his shoulders in this one, as he is not only carrying the weight of his team, but he is also trying to impress the NFL scouts that think that he could be a first round NFL Draft pick this year. Nassib threw for 470 yards in the opening game of the season against the Northwestern Wildcats, and he had five other games this year in which he threw for at least 325 yards. He’s going to have to do that once again in this one in all likelihood if the Orange really have a chance of keeping up, and doing so in the snow is going to be all the more difficult to do.

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Posted in College Football - Last Updated on Friday, December 28th, 2012 @ 12:43 am (EST)
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