2023 Boca Raton Bowl Preview

December 21, 2023

If you’re somewhere between the ages of 25 and 45, Tuesday night’s bowl game had to make you feel at least a little bit old.

On one side, Marshall was led by Cole Pennington, son of Chad Pennington. On the other side, a surprise last minute change resulted in one Owen McCown, son of Josh McCown, leading the charge for UT-San Antonio.

Both former NFL quarterbacks were in attendance to see their sons play, with the relatively calm demeanor that one would expect of two football dads who actually have a leg to stand on when it comes to the claim, “I know what’s going on out there.”

In the end, the younger McCown shook off some early game jitters to lead the Roadrunners to a victory that many would have expected had Jeff Traylor’s team been able to utilize the services of his normal starting quarterback Frank Harris.

In the Von Hugendong Bowl Mania group, America’s Picks continues to lead the way.

Following a day of rest with no college game, let’s take a quick look at the game taking place on Thursday evening.

RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl

South Florida vs. Syracuse (Thursday, 8 PM ET – ESPN)

The Orange will escape the winter’s cold to face off against the Bulls, who escape the West side of the state in favor of the Fort Lauderdale area, on Thursday evening. South Florida is one of the most improved teams in the country this season, bettering its 1-11 record in 2022 by five games in 2023. First-year head coach Alex Golesh has the program headed in the right direction and should benefit in this game from a level of optimism that hasn’t existed there in awhile.

Syracuse fired Dino Babers before the end of the season, and leading the Orange in this game will be interim Nunzio Campanile, who took over after Babers was fired last month. Campanile may wish that he had incoming transfer Kyle McCord at his expense, as the Orange will be without starting quarterback Garrett Shrader due to a shoulder injury. Instead, he’ll likely use redshirt freshman Braden Davis, who threw a single pass this season. Syracuse does rely on its running game, however, so LeQuint Allen should be a focal point for the offense in this one. The Bulls may have been bailed out in a big way in this regard, given their questionable secondary, and because of this they have a decent shot at pulling off the mild upset.

Around The Corn’s Pick: 27-23 South Florida

Bowl Mania Confidence: 3 points

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