West Virginia will rekindle the rivalry with the Syracuse Orange in the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. WVU and Syracuse, both former (or soon to be) members of the Big East will get another shot at each other in Yankee Stadium on December 29. While WVU fans may be a little less than excited to face Syracuse in a low level bowl game such as the Pinstripe Bowl, it makes sense when you think it through.
Dec 30, 2011; Bronx, NY, USA; First place trophy for the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Iowa State Cyclones at Yankee Stadium. Rutgers won 27 – 13. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
The bowl game will be the 60th time that the two teams have met. The Orange hold the series lead with a 32-27 record. WVU has won 8 of the last 10 meeting with Syracuse but the Orange have won the last two meetings. The game will provide Geno Smith his last chance to take down the Orange after two disappointing performances against them as a starting quarterback.
You also have to realize that the bowl game in New York is much more convenient for Mountaineer fans to travel to as opposed to San Diego and the Holiday Bowl. Yes, the Holiday Bowl is more prestigious and would have matched the Mountaineers against a ranked Pac-12 team. But the Mountaineers are now given the opportunity to beat a “conference champion” in front of a major media market and to do so convincingly. It also helps that the opponent is a historical rival of the Mountaineers, making the game more appealing to the Mountaineers fanbase.
Again, playing UCLA in the Holiday Bowl would have probably been the fans first choice, but this match-up makes so much sense financially and aesthetically. It will be good to see the Mountaineers able to rekindle a rivalry with an old Big East foe, especially in the ever changing climate of conference realignment.
If you are going to play in a minor bowl, you might as well play an opponent with historical significance in one of the most interesting bowl locations.