Multiple sources have confirmed the Mountaineers’ bid to the third annual Pinstripe Bowl, held in New York’s new Yankee Stadium on Dec. 29, late Sunday evening. WVU, which finished 7-5, will face Syracuse, out of the Big East Conference, a foe they have a 27-32 all-time series record against. The Orange, also 7-5, won five of their last six games and finished 5-2 in the Big East to share the league title. West Virginia just completed its first regular season in the Big 12 after playing football in the Big East for 20 years.
WVU, which has lost two in a row to the Orange, is 15-28-2 all-time in the state of New York and has won four of its last five in the Empire State. The vast majority of the games have been played against Syracuse, though long-time foe Fordham has hosted West Virginia nine times in the Empire State. The Mountaineers have played in venues such as Yankee Stadium (2-2-1), the Polo Grounds (2-4) and Michie Stadium at West Point against Army (1-2).
The game pays out $2 million and will be televised at 3:15 p.m. EST on ESPN. The winning team will receive the George M. Steinbrenner trophy, after the former owner of the Yankees. Syracuse beat Kansas State 36-34 last year and Rutgers defeated Iowa State 27-13 in the inaugural match-up, giving the Big East a 2-0 all-time mark in the bowl. The game match-up is supposedly set as the fourth-place team from the Big East against the seventh-place team from the Big 12, though conferences are known to shuffle teams to find the best fit.
The Pinstripe Bowl became the first to be played in New York City metro area since the now-defunct Garden State Bowl pitted Tennessee against Wisconsin in 1981. The bowl is the first to be played in New York City proper since the 1962 Gotham Bowl showcased Miami and Nebraska in 1962.
Tickets will be sold through the respective schools, as well as the Pinstripe Bowl itself. It will be the sixth college football game to be played at new Yankee Stadium. According to Pinstripe.com, the official bowl website, the “original Yankee Stadium played host to a number of college football games from the year it opened in 1923, including New York University and Fordham University home games and the two schools' annual matchup. From 1925-46, and again in 1969, the annual Notre Dame-Army football game took place at Yankee Stadium, including the memorable "Win one for the Gipper" matchup in 1928, and the 1946 contest which ended in a scoreless tie and featured four Heisman Trophy winners (Doc Blanchard, Glenn Davis, Johnny Lujack and Leon Hart). From 1968-73 and '76-87, Grambling played a series of home games at Yankee Stadium, known as the Whitney M. Young Urban Classic.”