2023 Boca Raton Bowl – Syracuse vs South Florida

2023 Boca Raton Bowl – Syracuse vs South Florida

posted December 15

The Game

Welcome to paradise, yo.

Syracuse and South Florida will do battle in the Boca Raton Bowl with both teams looking to book a winning record for the 2023 season. The Orange started out 4-0 but then proceeded to barf all over themselves and lose five games in a row. They got to six wins with a win over Wake Forest in the season finale and will be working with an interim HC in this game after firing Dino Babers in November. South Florida SHOCKED the WORLD this season (6-6) and have to be thrilled with making a bowl game after winning just FOUR (!) games in total from 2020-2022.

The Details

Syracuse -3 South Florida (61)

MEGALOCKS LINE – Syracuse -4

“Vegas” Implied Projected Score: Syracuse 32 South Florida 29

Syracuse offense vs South Florida defense

The Syracuse offense was performing decently at the beginning of the season before they suffered a bunch of injuries including the loss of team leader and QB Garrett Shrader for a number of games. That was the main culprit for their five-game losing streak but the offense started to find it’s way down the stretch. The Orange rushed for 200+ yards in each of their L4G and Shrader even played a bit in November including in the season finale vs Wake Forest. He shared duties with TE Dan Villari who’s turned into a bit of a WILDCAT specialist (19/22 TD, 0 INT) and we expect Villari and Shrader to share duties in this game. We also believe that we’ll see 1,000-yard RB LeQuint Allen on the field and they’ll be rolling against a horrible South Florida defense (#131 FBS total defense, 455 YPG). The THROW GAME does just enough to keep the defense honest and we don’t expect the Orange to have much trouble moving the football.

South Florida offense vs Syracuse defense

The Bulls have showcased a potent and balanced offense this season under first year HC Alex Golesh (#29 rush, #30 pass) and QB Byrum Brown is one of the most dangerous dual-threat specimens in the nation (23-11 TD to INT, 745 rush, 11 TD). Brown makes a few too many mistakes but he’s an amazing athlete who’s getting better as the season moves along. The Bulls will have essentially their full complement of skill position weaponry including RB Nay’Quan Wright (757, 7 TD) and WR Sean Atkins (961, 5 TD) and they’ll face a medicore Syracuse defense in this game (#54 run D, #65 pass efficiency D, #60 sacks). The Orange don’t get too much heat on the QB but note that Brown has been sacked 36 (!) times this year (team 40).

Trends, Intangibles and More!

The motivational edge is clearly on the side of the underdog as South Florida has exceeded expectations and will be playing in their first bowl game since 2018…..It can’t hurt the Bulls chances that the game is being played in Florida whilst the Orange have to travel a long way from the depths of miserable fascist hell in New York….One thing to keep in mind is that South Florida has played a much easier schedule (#117 vs #68) compared to Syracuse and the Bulls’ best win was over…..<checks notes>…..something called Rice…..Mind you the Orange don’t have a single win over a bowl team, so there’s that.


We prefer the Orange in this spot but find it hard to fire when the motivational side of things lines up with the Bulls. We’ll wait a few more days to make a final decision just in case there’s any last second news on key opt-outs/quitters/transfers.


No leanage for now.

‘Official play’ implies this pick is one of our favorites of the week (perceived value, match-up, coaching, trends, etc.). We’re currently playing these picks for the same amount as the leans but it’s up to you how you want to manage your bankroll. Please see the Week in Review posts for more detail.

‘Lean’ implies we are placing a wager on the game.

‘No leanage’ implies we won’t have any action on the game.

Team totalsWe list the implied number based on the point spread and total when our analysis is posted. If a team total ends up being an official play we will post a widely available number at the time of pick release.