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For the first time in the history of New Yankee Stadium, a bowl game will head to the Big Apple! On Thursday, in the second college football betting battle in the Bronx this year, the Syracuse Orange will take on the Kansas State Wildcats in what should be a hot and heavy duel at the Pinstripe Bowl. Our Pinstripe Bowl picks are hot off the presses in time for Thursday afternoon's clash, and you certainly won't want to miss them!
Pinstripe Bowl Matchup: Kansas State Wildcats vs. Syracuse Orange
Date: Thursday, December 30th, 3:20 ET
Location: New Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
Pinstripe Bowl Line: Syracuse -1
Wildcats Notes: The Wildcats know that they could be up against it in this game if their defense doesn't prove to stand the test of the Syracuse rushing game. We do have to give KSU some credit for this being a very tough schedule played this year, but when push really comes to shove, we know that these guys allowed the fifth most rushing yards in the land at 219.5 yards per game. That's nearly as many as the Orange are giving up in total! There is still a question as to whether Head Coach Bill Snyder really wants to use QB Carson Coffman or QB Collin Klein under center, but one thing is for certain, and that's that he really doesn't want to let either man throw the ball all that much. KSU once threw just two passes in a game this year, and it was a team that had a run/pass ratio of almost 2:1. RB Daniel Thomas actually ran the ball by himself more times (276) than the Wildcats threw in passes (267) all year. Thomas made the most of those carries, rushing for 1,495 yards and 16 TDs to cap a fabulous two years on the offensive side of the ball. WR Aubrey Quarles was the team's leading receiver with 690 yards on 48 catches, and he was the only man that had more than 25 catches this year that didn't come out of the backfield.
Orange Notes: The first thing that we have to remember when analyzing the Pinstripe Bowl betting odds in this one is that the Orange really did play a soft schedule that included arguably the worst team in major college football (Akron) and the two teams from the FCS (Maine and Colgate). That being said, this was a defense that really was no joke this year. Allowing 270.0 yards per game is probably inflated by about 30 yards, but when push comes to shove, even allowing 300 yards per game is fantastic, especially in major college football, even if the Big East was down just a tad this year. The offense though, was absolutely horrifying. Averaging 309.4 yards per game leaves the 'Cuse ranked dead last amongst the 70 bowl teams this year, and it was only good enough to rank No. 106 in the nation. Now, the team's leading receiver, WR Van Chew, could miss the game as well with a groin injury. If he is out of the lineup, there isn't a player available that caught more than 32 passes or one that had even 400 yards in receiving. QB Ryan Nassib has a lot of pressure on his back, but he did a good job of holding onto the football this year, throwing just eight picks against 16 TDs with 2,095 yards. The key to this offense is on the ground though, where RB Delone Carter rushed for 1,035 yards and seven TDs and RB Antwon Bailey had 504 yards and two scores on 107 carries.
The Final Word: If not for the fact that the Wildcats were just so darn bad against the rush, we would back them in this game. There is a serious motivation factor here as well, as the Wildcats probably aren't going to be so thrilled to be here, especially after a relatively horrible stretch at the end of the year that only featured one win, a narrow escape from the lowly North Texas Mean Green. This should feel like a home game for the 'Cuse, and we tend to believe that they're going to capitalize with an ugly victory.
Pinstripe Bowl Free Pick: Syracuse -1
Pinstripe Bowl Prediction: Syracuse 17 – Kansas State 13