An old foe for a new season.
Syracuse starts this season different than most. It has a new coach and a new starting quarterback. Very rarely have those two events lined up, if ever, in the history of Syracuse Football. But this year is as good as any, as Syracuse opens with a old foe and in the NFL's MetLife Stadium.
Syracuse still hasn't officially announced the starting quarterback, but it is looking most like Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen. He has been receiving the majority of the first team reps in practice and should do a fine job. The real question is if RB Jerome Smith can have another solid and productive season. It's no longer a mystery as the 1,000yd rusher returns to try and do the same. If Smith can find success in pounding the ball for the Orange, Allen should have a relatively easy day, making passes here and there. But if not, it rarely works out that a first time starting quarterback can engineer absolute magic. Especially when the top two receivers from the previous season on the team are no longer there. However, interestingly enough, Penn State is also starting a new quarterback and he is also a freshman. Christian Hackenberg is only the third true freshman to start for Penn State since 1910. Syracuse is known for pressure and blitz packages designed to get at the quarterback, or at least fluster them. That could come into play quite a bit tomorrow. Syracuse honestly should be able to find success at pressuring the quarterback. I think Syracuse makes at least one interception on the day. And I think that will probably be the advantage Syracuse needs to win in a close game. While Penn State will put up a good fight on the big state, Syracuse will simply execute a little better on the field than PSU. I'm picking the Orange to win the season opener over Penn State 27 to 20.
This game for most of the Orange::44 readership will be on ABC at 3:30pm. For those in the other half of the country, it will be on ESPN 2, so you will be able to catch this game nationally. It will also be available on Watch ESPN and ESPN 3. And you should definitely want to tune in. It's against a big team and an old rival in Penn State, it's the start of the Shafer era, it's the first game Syracuse will represent the ACC, and it's the start of a new year for the Orange. Plenty of skin in the game for you to check out. John will be down in the New Meadowlands so check out his Twitter (@JBren) for some live coverage. As for me, I'm checking out UMass at Wisconsin so I'll be checking out this game on my phone, preventing me from tweeting any commentary of value. But we'll be here after the Labor Day holiday to recap the game and get the season going. Until then, enjoy the game and Go Orange!