This is a big game for both teams.
Syracuse shocked many people by beating South Florida last weekend on the road in Tampa for their first Big East road win in forever. Now Pittsburgh comes into the Carrier Dome, a team Syracuse hasn't beaten since 2004. While Pittsburgh has underwhelmed they are still a talented team, but this is Syracuse on Homecoming with a huge, orange crowd expected.
Pittsburgh's problems really derive from the QB position. Tino Sunseri has not panned out as well as hoped, and the coaching staff's confidence in him is thin. Although he has good numbers, Pittsburgh has straight out looked terrible in some of their games, especially against Miami at home. Pittsburgh has some great weapons in RB Ray Graham and WR Jon Baldwin, but when a defense can stop a run, and your QB is pressured so he can't throw well, what good do they do? On the other hand, we still do not know how good the Syracuse secondary is because the only test they really have had was Washington and they failed that one. Syracuse will be facing some very talented wideouts and unlike BJ Daniels, Sunseri could actually hit them when they are open most likely. But then there is the Syracuse defense. The front seven are about as good as you'll find in the Big East right now. They pressured and contained BJ Daniels and every other quarterback they have faced this season, even Jake Locker (by contained, I mean prevented them from running all over the place, nothing to do with passing). Is this Pitt team talented? Yes. Will they find vast and instant success against Syracuse's defense? Doubtful. Now, people know I'm a huge Syracuse homer, but my picks and predictions have an air of integrity that try to be as objective as one could be. And this game will be close. It could come down to another big fourth quarter drive for either Pittsburgh or Syracuse. Dave The Mustache has never lost in the Carrier Dome, but he almost did a couple years ago when Syracuse was leading a great portion of the game. And that wasn't even homecoming. And that team was just as talented as the current team. I think the crowd will be a huge factor in this game however, as the Dome looks to be well above 40 k for this affair, mostly in orange. Again this game will be close, and I'm giving the edge to Syracuse. This game will be a grinder just like Syracuse v. USF was. If both teams are having good days this will be a very entertaining football game. But Pitt fans, don't be delusional. I've been saying all year this is a better Syracuse team than in the last six years. It's true. Pittsburgh will not be crushing the Orange early and often like in previous years. If you think so, you are a Pitt homer who hasn't been paying attention to the other teams in the league. Much like in basketball, when these two teams play it will be a game, no matter the status of either team. But I like the momentum Syracuse has right now, how full the Dome will be, and how loud the crowd should be. Syracuse fans are whipped in a frenzy right now over the USF win still, and this is Homecoming. Syracuse I think wins a close game for even more respectability. Well as much as you can winning a game in the Big East right now. For Syracuse that's huge. Look for the Orange to take down Pittsburgh 23 to 14.
This is again the Big East game of the week. It will be shown locally in upstate NY on TWCS, but it appears that it will be on SNY as well. This one's a nooner, so get your beers and such in early. While I'll be doing a modest tailgate this fine Saturday morning in light showers, look for me on the Quad as we'll be pulling out all the stops singing the Fight Song, Alma Mater, and any other traditions we can manage to remember. Homecoming is a time to visit with friends and enjoy the good times you used to have and still have. So have fun, be safe, check out our annual Guide to Homecoming right here if you haven't already. And as always GO ORANGE!