It’s snowing, and about 34 degrees at Yankee Stadium for the Pinstripe Bowl. Truly, a beautiful sight if you are sitting by a fire and looking out through say…a snowglobe.
What’s on the line today? West Virginia’s season clearly did not go as well as anyone had hoped. The team started hot, but quickly learned how difficult life in the Big 12 will be. Two wins to end things – against Iowa State and Kansas – lifted the spirits of the team and made them bowl eligible, which brings us to this afternoon. There is a big difference between a 7-6 season and an 8-5 season and that’s really what is on the line. A fitting finale is also on the line for the team’s three stars: QB Geno Smith, and WRs Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey who are all expected to move on to the NFL after this one.
What are the big questions?
Will the snow derail the offense? How seamless will Jeff Braun’s move to center from right guard be? On a wet snowy day he will certainly be tested. Can Smith and his line contend with the Syracuse defense, which got them off balance a year ago with a barrage of blitzes and constant pressure. And will Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib, bumped for Greg Paulus two years ago be ready to make this game his?
Best case scenario? Remember Shawne Alston’s lumbering 50-plus yard touchdown run at Rutgers last year in the snow? West Virginia could probably use that today. Assuming the snow doesn’t bother the operation too much, as Coach Dana Holgorsen said it shouldn’t on Friday, the Mountaineers can score when the opportunity presents and manage to beat their old foe in the snow to end the season at 8-5.