Syracuse honing in on Camping World Bowl, preparing for WVU without QB Will Grier
The Syracuse University football team is preparing for its first bowl appearance in five year, and it's doing so knowing one of the nation's top quarterbacks will not be lining up across from it.
Will Grier, West Virginia's hot shot, senior quarterback made news Saturday when he announced his intention to skip the 2018 Camping World Bowl in favor of preparing for the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.
Grier is rated as the No. 5 quarterback in the nation according to ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.
Syracuse will now shift its preparation to the Mountaineers' second-string quarterback: Jack Allison.
Allison, a former four-star rated prospect out of Palmetto, Fla., transferred to Morgantown after a short stint with the Miami Hurricanes.
The 6-foot-6, sophomore quarterback saw limited action in 2018, entering a lopsided win over Baylor when Grier lit up the Bears for 353 yards and three touchdowns before halftime.
Without Grier, the Orange have a much better chance to win the game, as the Vegas Oddsmakers have the Mountaineers slated as a 1.5-point favorite.
Syracuse, meanwhile, continues bowl preparation for the first time in five years.
Dino Babers is quite familiar with bowl appearances during his long coaching tenure, and will lead the Orange into uncharted territory later this month.
"We've been through it before. We're not rookies with this stuff," Babers explained. "So I'll take the lead with this one and we'll lead the coaches and lead the players, and we'll do it the right way. The main thing is not to rush anything. There's a lot of time between three or four days after Christmas when we're going to play this game.
"They've never gone through finals and practice before," he continued, referencing the players lack of experience in recent bowl preparation. "So we need to be sensitive to that because we do want to make sure they do a good job of their finals for their academics. So, we're taking it a little bit easy on them until school gets done, and then we'll turn it up a lot."
The 2018 Camping World Bowl will be played from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. on Friday, Dec. 28 on ESPN.