Texas Bowl Matchup: Syracuse Orange vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Date/Time: December 27th, 6:00 ET
Texas Bowl Odds from BetAnySports
Point Spread: Minnesota -4
The Texas Bowl this season pits the Minnesota Golden Gophers up against the Syracuse Orange at Reliant Stadium, where both of these teams are going to hope to cap off solid seasons in their respective conferences.
The Orange are going to be overlooked in this game, knowing that they only just barely made it to a bowl game. However, as we have found out over the course of the last several years, teams which have to win their last game (or their last multiple games) to get to a bowl tend to do well. Syracuse is one of these teams which doesn’t feel like it should be here in the second season, though. The club was destroyed by the Florida State Seminoles, Clemson Tigers, and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this year, and the only wins against bowl teams were against the Maryland Terrapins (without QB CJ Brown) and the Boston College Eagles (without RB Andre Williams). RB Jerome Smith is about the only skill player of any note in this game, knowing that he rushed for 840 yards and 11 TDs, especially if RB Prince-Tyson Gulley ends up sitting out injured. He’s questionable in this one with an undisclosed injury.
The Golden Gophers were the hottest team from a betting standpoint in the land at the end of the year, covering their last six games. If there is a concern though, they only scored a grand total of 10 points in their last two games. That being said, they also ended up being one of the few teams to cover against the Michigan State Spartans down the stretch, and they gave their best game against the Wisconsin Badgers in quite some time in the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. QB Phillip Nelson is questionable for this one with an undisclosed injury, and if he doesn’t end up playing, this Minnesota offense really does end up looking awfully suspect. QB Mitch Leidner would be the next quarterback in line, but he only threw for 387 yards with a TD and a pick in relief this year. He’s got good wheels, having rushed for more yards than Nelson did, but that would put a slew of pressure on RB David Cobb, who had 1,111 yards and seven TDs this season.
These two teams actually played last year when the Gophers were ranked in the Top 25. Much has changed since that point, but neither of these teams are all that valid offensively once again. Minnesota won at home 17-10 as a short three-point underdog. The Golden Gophers have lost five straight bowl games, but shockingly, they have covered four of those five. Syracuse has gone a whopping 4-1 in its last five bowl games and is 11-3-1 in its 15 bowl games played since 1987.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.