And here's something else to chew on: While WVU's total defense is ranked No. 108 nationally, Syracuse's defense is ranked No. 50. In other words, it's only half as bad as that of the Mountaineers.
If you compare the gaps, you might wonder why WVU is favored.
There are, though, other considerations. Foremost is West Virginia's tougher regular-season schedule. According to the Sagarin computer rankings, WVU played the No. 20 toughest schedule, while Syracuse's was No. 45.
Also, perhaps stunningly, Syracuse's special teams play has been awful. More awful, in fact, than that of WVU. (Example: In net punting, WVU is No. 100 nationally; Syracuse is No. 112.)
But keep in mind the motivation factor. Syracuse's team seems quite happy to be playing in the game. It is playing, basically, a home game. And the last time it played a home game against the Mountaineers, the Orange won 49-23 in the Carrier Dome.
Think Syracuse coach Doug Marrone will be motivated? He was born in the Bronx.
Marrone and Syracuse know they can take another step in rebuilding the Orange program by again knocking off the Mountaineers.
On paper, West Virginia is the favorite. In New York, we'll have to wait and see.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.