To say Syracuse shattered expectations in 2018 would be a gross understatement. After a 9-3 regular season, the Orange is headed to the Camping World Bowl to take on Big 12 offensive powerhouse West Virginia. This renews an old Big East rivalry and matches up two of the best scoring teams in the country. How does Christmas break in Orlando sound to everyone?
The Camping World Bowl comes as a huge relief to the Orange faithful. It seemed for a bit that SU would get hosed out of a rightful spot in a Tier One ACC bowl after having the second best overall record in the conference behind College Football Playoff-bound Clemson. After overachieving from being picked last in the ACC Coastal to now being considered amongst the elite in the conference, 2018 surely was a banner year.
The fear of today’s bowl selection was the chance to return back to Yankee Stadium for the Pinstripe Bowl. Many experts slotted the Orange there after Oklahoma bumped up the rest of the Big 12 after making the Playoff. It would have been a case of beggars can’t be choosers, but it’s all moot now. Syracuse would have had the most regular season wins of any Pinstripe Bowl participant ever. Now, they get a much more worthy opponent in West Virginia down in Orlando.
With the Mountaineers, let’s just say there will be a healthy over/under total set by Vegas for this game. Both teams sit inside the top 12 in the country in offense with north of 40 points per game for both squads. With Heisman candidate Will Grier leading the WVU offense opposite Eric Dungey and company, this game will be one of the most intriguing for the entirety of bowl season.
Ever since the win against Boston College, Dino Babers has stressed the excitement surrounding a potential double digit win season. Now the Orange has a chance and a good one against a West Virginia team that mirrors Syracuse both offensively and defensively. For the Syracuse senior class that has been around since the Scott Shafer days, this will be their first ever bowl game. And for this year’s freshman class, it could be the first of many.