Week 13 – Syracuse at Temple

Posted Nov 21, 2012

Week 13 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Syracuse at Temple

Syracuse (6-5) at Temple (4-6) Nov. 23, 11:00, ESPN2

Here's The Deal: No one in the Big East is hotter these days than Syracuse. No one.

The Orange has been terrific over the last five games, winning four, and silencing any of the chatter regarding the future of head coach Doug Marrone with the program. Since slipping two games below .500 on Oct. 13, Syracuse has ripped Connecticut, won at South Florida, handed Louisville its first loss and upset Mizzou in Columbia on a late touchdown pass. Remote as it may be, the Orange has still not been eliminated from the league title race.

Where did that come from? The same Temple team that hadn't scored more than 17 points in almost two months erupted for 63 in Saturday's blowout of Army in West Point. While it was small consolation for a program that has been eliminated from the postseason, it was no less memorable watching Montel Harris smash Big East records with 351 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

Why Syracuse Might Win: Temple has Harris, which is about three weapons fewer than the Orange.

It's no coincidence that Syracuse began turning the corner when it located balance on offense. It can complement the passing of Ryan Nassib with the tough running of Jerome Smith, who's headed for 1,000 yards. Nassib's underrated collection of receivers is paced by senior Alec Lemon, who tormented the Missouri secondary for 12 catches, 244 yards and two scores, including the back-breaker. The Owls are last in the Big East in most defensive categories, including run D and pass efficiency defense, making for a bad matchup against this Friday's visitor.

Why Temple Might Win: If Harris is even a fraction as good as he was on Saturday at Michie Stadium, the Owls have a shot.

Army knew what was coming. The fans knew what was coming. Yet, the transfer from Boston College still piled up a good month's worth of output in four quarters. With absolutely no help from the passing game, Temple will once again need to open up holes for No. 8, while feeding him liberally. When Syracuse has struggled this season, it was the defense that was often the culprit, allowing an average of 32 points in the team's five losses.

What To Watch Out For: S Shamarko Thomas has been a hidden gem throughout his career in Upstate New York. Syracuse's leading tackler is tough, physical and one of the best all-around athletes on the roster. A hybrid in most other games, he'll do far less freelancing and far more defending of the run this weekend at the Linc. The Owls threw four passes a week ago, and have yet to throw for more than 200 yards in any one game in 2012, so all of the Orange DBs will have a clear directive—pinch up, don't bit on fakes and monitor Harris' moves at all times.

What Will Happen: Syracuse might be prone to a letdown after defeating Louisville and Mizzou in consecutive weeks. Too bad Temple won't be able to take advantage.

The Owls are one-trick, err, birds. Harris going in all directions might work against Army, but not an Orange squad that's peaking. Syracuse has far too many weapons and too much balance for a defense that's struggled throughout the year against lesser competition. Temple is not built to thrive in comeback mode, which is exactly what it'll be forced to do once the Orange jumps out on top in the second quarter.

CFN Prediction: Syracuse 33 … Temple 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Syracuse -8 O/U: 56.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Beware of Mr. Baker, 1 – Life of Pi): 2