The 2018 college football bowl pairings are out, and the West Virginia Mountaineers will find themselves facing off with an old, familiar rival in a somewhat disappointing matchup - the Camping World Bowl against the Syracuse Orange on December 28th at 5:15PM ET on ESPN.
The matchup will mark the 61st meeting between the two programs, and the Mountaineers’ fifth appearance in the Camping World Bowl. In their last post-season trip to Orlando, West Virginia suffered a 31-14 loss to the Miami Hurricanes in what was then known as the Russell Athletic Bowl. The Mountaineers last played the Orange in the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl following West Virginia’s first season in the Big 12 Conference, and lost 38-14. West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen is 0-2 against Syracuse, so a win here would exorcise that demon and deliver the Mountaineers their third season with at least nine wins in the last eight years.
The Mountaineers ended the regular season with an 8-3 record after their game against the N.C. State Wolfpack was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence, and finished fourth in the Big 12 Conference standings behind the Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns and Iowa St. Cyclones.
Syracuse finished the season with a 9-3 record and 2nd in the ACC Atlantic Division behind the No. 2 ranked Clemson Tigers, their best showing under third-year head coach Dino Babers.
The Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy is not expected to be on the line in the bowl game, just as it wasn’t played for in the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl.
This is the fourth appearance for WVU in this bowl game, which has changed names seven times since its inception in 1990, with no victories to date.
The Mountaineers lost twice in the Carquest Bowl, played in Joe Robbie Stadium, in Miami GardensFla.; first falling to South Carolina, 24-21, in 1995 and then to Georgia Tech, 35-30, in 1997. WVU was embarrassed by N.C. State, 23-7, in the 2010 Champs Sports Bowl, played in the Florida Citrus Bowl, in Orlando. Most recently, WVU fell 31-14 to Miami in the 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl, played in the newly renovated Camping World Stadium, in Orlando.