College Football Bowl Picks -- Minnesota vs. Syracuse: Who'll end season on high note?

  • In Charles Jay
  • Thu, Dec 29th, 2022 11:46:52 am
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

Two teams with fast starts and disappointing finishes meet as the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Syracuse Orange engage in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Preview and prediction for the Pinstripe Bowl

Yankee Stadium is not your typical place to see a college football game. It used to be, or at least a previous version of it was. On Thursday afternoon it is the site of the Pinstripe Bowl - aptly named - as the Minnesota Golden Gophers meet up with the Syracuse Orange. It begins at 2 PM ET and is to be shown on ESPN.

As we were in the early part of the season, it looked as if these teams may have been headed for bigger things, with apologies to the Yankees and their legacy, of course. But when the schedule got tougher, they backed off a bit. That is what makes this somewhat intriguing for BetOnline customers to look at.

Pinstripe Bowl predictionSyracuse got off to a 6-0 start, and they weren't rolling over stuffs either, as they scored wins over the likes of Louisville, UConn, Purdue and NC State. Then they went ahead and lost five consecutive games, which obviously made them look bad, but they were against formidable squads like Clemson, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest and Florida State. Then they beat Boston College in the season finale to bring their record to 7-5 (6-6 against the spread).

Minnesota won its first four games, and pone of those was against Michigan State, when that was considered a bigger thing than it is now. But they went on to lose double-digit decisions to Purdue, Illinois and Penn State in the very competitive Big Ten second-tier. They come into this contest with a mark of 8-4 straight-up (and 7-5 against the pointspread).

These schools last met each other in the Texas Bowl back in 2013.

In the college football bowl odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Gophers are favored by quite a few points:

Minnesota Golden Gophers -10.5
Syracuse Orange                +10.5

Over 44.5 Points -110
Under 44.5 Points -110

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When you take a look at a game like this, you want to see on what basis we can distinguish these squads. We've already mentioned that with a common opponent (Purdue), the Gophers lost by double digits while Syracuse won. Is that enough evidence for us?

Doubtful. In looking at the fundamentals, what do we have? Well, it can be concluded that Minnesota has the better defense. The Gophers, in fact, ranked fifth nationally in defense overall, and allowed just 13.3 points per game. Even in defeat, they were difficult to score on.

In addition to that, Minnesota gets it going on the ground, with one of the top running backs in the country. Mo Ibrahim piled up 1594 yards, and would have been considered the best tailback in the Big Ten if not for the presence of Michigan's Blake Corum. His 19 TDs on the ground tied for the NCAA lead.

And because they have a guy like Ibrahim, who was first-team all-conference, it is less of a concern whether Tanner Morgan will be a able to play through the whole game. An upper-body injury robbed him of a lot of action, but he's been cleared to participate. He doesn't have blow-your-mind numbers (7 TD passes, 5 INT's), but he's a veteran, having thrown for over 1000 yards in five straight seasons.

Our best guess is that redshirt freshman Athan Kaliakmanis, who filled in for Morgan, will play too.

Certainly Minnesota has some meaningful advantages. But are they enough to lay this many points?

We suspect not. We're not sure Minnesota can generate enough offense to pull away. Syracuse will have more than its share of fan and alumni support.

The total may deserve more attention, whichever side wins. Yes, Syracuse coach Dino Babers likes to go fast with his offense. But often they have gone nowhere fast. Minnesota's games are 4-7-1 to the "under." That is the way we'll go in this one.

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