Pinstripe Bowl: West Virginia left the Big East for big time football in the Big 12 and ended up paired with Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Mountaineers reached the top five with a hot start, a high initial rating and a Heisman candidate. They then lost five-straight through the Big 12 meat and finished 7-5. Syracuse closed well, winning five of six, including a blowout of then undefeated Louisville and an upset on the road at Missouri to reach seven wins.
Syracuse fans are within driving distance. There is a winter weather advisory. Offensive tackle Justin Pugh has a decision to make. We saw what Holgorsen could do with a month to prepare last year, but West Virginia’s defense is abysmal and Syracuse can exploit bad tackling and coverage breakdowns. Recreational prediction: Syracuse [+3.5]
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Navy won the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy and seven of their last eight games with freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds to finish 8-4. Arizona State did better than some expected, finishing 7-5 and being reasonably competitive against good teams. Todd Graham’s interest was piqued enough to stick around despite multiple coaching opportunities. The Kraft Fight Hunger Board of Directors were not fighting hunger. Navy fans take bowl games seriously.
Consensus All-American defensive tackle Will Sutton should be healthy. The Sun Devils should get some traction on the ground against Navy’s defense. Recreational Prediction: ASU [-14]
[Photo via USA Today Sports]