College Football: Syracuse vs South Florida Boca Raton Bowl betting preview

College Football: Syracuse vs South Florida Boca Raton Bowl betting preview

It’s officially bowl season in college football, with all the action already underway. While the biggest games take place just before the turn of the year, Thursday brings an intriguing matchup between Syracuse and South Florida in the 2023 Boca Raton Bowl, which is set to be held at FAU Stadium, the home of Florida Atlantic University. The kick-off is scheduled for 8 PM EST here. The Orange are coming off a disappointing 6-6 season where they ultimately fired head coach Dino Babers. As for the Bulls of South Florida, they were also 6-6. This should be a relatively even matchup.

Quick Take

  • Syracuse and USF meet on Thursday in the Boca Raton Bowl
  • The Orange are a slim favorite here
  • Below, we’ll preview the game

Boca Raton Bowl history

The Boca Raton Bowl debuted in December of 2014 and has always been held at FAU Stadium. Florida Atlantic has actually won it twice in their history. The team that comes out victorious every year gets awarded the Howard Schnellenberger trophy, which is named after the legendary head coach of FAU who passed away. Toledo is the reigning champions.

Tough year for Syracuse

It was definitely a season of transition for Syracuse, who let go of Babers after eight years at the helm. But, considering how he did with the program, it wasn’t a huge surprise. This is only their third bowl game in the last nine years, which isn’t exactly anything to write home about. Fran Brown is now the new head coach and he previously spent time and Rutgers and Georgia. This is a good hire for Syracuse. Also, the Orange just secured a massive signing over the weekend as former Ohio State QB Kyle McCord decided to transfer. That gives them a legitimate QB1 for next season.

But for now, the Orange will likely go with Garrett Schrader in the Boca Raton Bowl, who put together a solid outing in his last game where Syracuse grabbed a much-needed win over Wake Forest in Week 13. Schrader completed 10 of 15 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns. That victory solidified the Orange’s spot in a bowl game. While an 11th-place finish in the ACC was far from ideal (2-6 record), Syracuse has the opportunity to at least finish the campaign on a high note. The Orange are a 2.5-point favorite on the spread for Thursday at 888sport.

Back to a bowl game for South Florida

South Florida hasn’t exactly been elite in past years. This is their first bowl game since 2018 and posting a 6-4 record in bowl games overall. The Bulls were fifth in the AAC in 23’, finishing 4-4 in conference play. Offensively, there were some bright spots for USF this year. They were 14th in the nation in total yards, 47th in points, and 45th in passing yards. QB1 Byrum Brown completed 64.1% of his passes for 3,078 yards and 23 touchdowns against 11 interceptions while also rushing for 11 touchdowns on the ground. He’s a versatile weapon.

However, the Bulls were atrocious defensively, allowing 34.9 points per game. That’s a major reason they couldn’t even finish above .500. Don’t be surprised if the offense comes out firing on Thursday but it remains to be seen if South Florida can stop Syracuse’s attack. For what it’s worth, the Bulls are barely an underdog at football betting sit.