A Rivalry Renewed: West Virginia to Take On Syracuse in Pinstripe Bowl

By Ryan McCart

The bowl schedule for the 2012-13 season has been set and that now affords us an opportunity to look at the full slate of games and react to every single one. There are plenty of intriguing matchups this postseason but I think that one of the more interesting matchups (outside of the BCS) is in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl to be played in Yankee Stadium on December 29th.

The two participants in this bowl are West Virginia of the Big 12 and Syracuse of the Big East. These two teams used to play each other every year in Big East play and it was one of the better rivalries in the conference. These two teams have played each other every year since 1955, but that streak was supposed to end this year because of the Mountaineers departure for the Big 12. Just when you thought the rivalry was over, fate has drawn them both back one more time.

These two teams used to play for the Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy (current home in Syracuse, NY). The 55 pound trophy is named for the Hall of Fame Syracuse head coach that played his college ball for West Virginia. The Orange lead the all-time series 31-27, including two wins in their last two matchups.

The Orange won the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl over Kansas State back in 2010 and this will be their first bowl appearance since that victory. Syracuse enjoyed a successful season this year, their final in the Big East, and had a 7-5 record. They also earned a share of the Big East Championship because of a 5-2 record in conference play. The Orange would love to finish their time in the Big East with a big win over one of their fiercest rivals.

While Syracuse’s season could be considered a success, most would consider West Virginia’s to be a failure. The Mountaineers started out their tenure in the Big 12 with a bang; they won their first five games and worked their way into the top five of the rankings. However, since then the wheels have come off. They lost five of their last seven games and will be limping into the Pinstripe Bowl. Even if they win this one they will probably spend the offseason licking their wounds.

If the Mountaineers knew how to play defense ,then I would say that this will be a hard hitting affair, but as they do not most of the big blows will probably be delivered by the Syracuse defense. As of now, it is unclear if the Schwartzwalder Trophy will be up for grabs along with the Pinstripe Bowl title, but that is something to worry about later. What is clear is that a great rivalry will be renewed in the Bronx and the viewers will be the beneficiaries.

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