It's weird saying this one is for a bowl.
Syracuse is in unfamiliar territory for younger fans and definitely current students. After all, the last time Syracuse went to a bowl game I was in my senior year at Syracuse. I graduated in 2005. But, much like Baltimore in the show The Wire, it's a new day. Syracuse is sitting on a 6-2 record and one more win guarantees a bowl trip. This should be that win.
By now you know what you are going to get from Syracuse. Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey will be the first options in the offensive game plan. Ryan Nassib will be called on to keep the L'ville run defense honest by passing, taking big shots, converting on third downs, and protecting the ball. Syracuse, like at Cincinnati, should be able to put together several scoring drives, especially inside the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome. The only issue will be pass protection from the offensive line, as well as run blocking, as RT Michael Hay is out. That being said, Louisville is really hurting. RB Bilal Powell is out, along with starting QB Adam Froman. Both have been having a good year, combining for 20 offensive touchdowns on the year. This is a huge blow to the offense. Backups will be named Saturday but at QB it will either be Justin Burke or Will Stein, who have five combined starts between them, and no starts this season. As for RB, Victor Anderson is the most likely starter, as supposed to a pair of redshirt freshmen. Anderson returns for this game after missing the last three with a shoulder injury. Better than a knee injury I suppose. Look for him to run the ball early and often, as Louisville is similar to Syracuse in the effort to truly establish a power running game. Either way, Syracuse should be stingy in giving up scores to this group like a lot of teams Syracuse has faced this season. Look for another couple of scoreless quarters for the opposition. Louisville will need some serious luck, gaps in coverage, and big time playmaking to stay in this game on offense. I had originally picked Syracuse to win this game 31 to 17, but I made that prediction assuming that the starters would start. I think scoring 17 is probably a little hefty for Louisville at this point. But I do think they will do enough to earn 13 points. Therefore, I'm still picking Syracuse in this game 31 to 13.
This game is available in the greater upstate New York area on Time Warner Cable Sports, on SNY, and on ESPN 3 at 12:00pm. The last nooner in a row, as next week's game is a 3:30 kick. But we'll be up bright and early in the blustery cold scheduled to be in Syracuse on Saturday morning. As always it will be toasty in the Carrier Dome as a pretty good crowd should be on hand. Hopefully at this point the community, as well as the students, are ready to show up to see their team hopefully become Bowl eligible. Either way, this should be an entertaining game. It will either be close and entertaining, or Syracuse will roll. Both are pretty fun if you are a Syracuse fan.