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A new football season is upon us, and Syracuse starts it off a little early with a Thursday night tilt at home to welcome in 2011. Nothing is really at stake in this contest except pride and putting your best foot forward to start a new season. And this is one of the more interesting non-conference matches in the Big East this week.
ACC member Wake Forest enters the Carrier Dome after a disastrous 2010 campaign. Going 3-9 (1-7) last year has squarely put Coach Jim Grobe on the hot seat. Wake's offense is led by a pair of sophomores in RB Josh Harris and QB Tanner Price. Harris exploded in October last season, emerging in the starting role behind a couple of veteran players. He will be their first option when it comes to offense. QB Price, however, has not looked good in leading up to the season. He has the raw talent, but failed to wow anyone last year or in the spring. The defense however is more solid, lead by senior LB Kyle Wilber, and will no doubt be helped by the improvement of sophomore NG Nikita Whitlock, the pleasant surprise on the defense last season. This team reminds me so much of some of those Greg Robinson teams in which the offense is absolutely lifeless, while the defense is alright but absolutely nothing special. I'll be seriously surprised if they come out with guns blazing and light the Carrier Dome on fire with their offense, stunning the hometown fans. This team could keep it close early, and maybe make a good effort to get back into it towards the end of the game, but I think this will be a stage for the Orange to shine on. Ryan Nassib looks ready and more confident than ever, and Antwon Bailey is anxious to prove his worth. Throw in a defense that will be tougher than most expect, especially up front (at least against this Wake offense) and you have the makings of a nice opening to your season. Objectively I'd pick Syracuse at home to win this game, and subjectively I'm definitely picking them to roll. Syracuse over Wake Forest in a Big East/ACC tilt 27 to 17.
This game will be shown on ESPN 3 (online) nationally, while locally in New York Time Warner Cable Sports will show the game on television. But really, tickets aren't that much. If you don't have work tonight and can make it to the home opening, you probably should. Syracuse should put on a good show tonight, and you'll want to get on board now. I'll be heading to the game tonight (@BH_Orange44) along with John Brennan (@JBren), and we should be tailgating from 3pm on. Drop us a line or say hi if you see us. As always, GO ORANGE! and be thankful that your college football season starts just a little bit earlier than most.