A new season, a new conference, same Orange::44.
It’s a new football season, so we here at Orange::44 are bringing you a comprehensive, game by game preview of the upcoming football season. We each go on record as to what games we think Syracuse will earn victories and which the team will fall short. But hey, at least we aren't UConn, right?
Brian's Season Preview
Syracuse embarks on their first season in the ACC. And on top of that they have a new coach and a yet to be named starting quarterback. There are several unanswered questions but the fact remains that Syracuse is still a pretty good football team, despite the obvious growing pains coming with joining a new conference.
Syracuse vs. Penn State (MetLife Stadium): Another season, another time for optimism for Syracuse Football. Who is our starting quarterback? We’ll find out Saturday afternoon. Penn State is not the Penn State of five years ago. If there was ever a time for Syracuse to break the hearts of Penn State fans across the country this is the game. Penn State is beatable. If Syracuse sticks to their game plan, and has solid defense, the Orange will walk away victors. I think this game is a coin flip in reality, but I’ll take the Orange. They have to win one of these games in MetLife Stadium. And I doubt it will be Notre Dame next season.
Syracuse @ Northwestern: A one point loss stings. But really, Syracuse deserved to lose last year to Northwestern in the Dome as the defense just couldn’t stop their offense on the final drive and Syracuse left too much time on the clock. It doesn’t help when you commit penalties that keep giving the Wildcats automatic first downs. Either way, Northwestern, while not an elite Big Ten team, is still a very good one. I think the Orange fall short in Chicago.
Syracuse vs. Wagner: This is our (apparently now) annual game against an FCS game. Last year it was Stony Brook. This year it’s the folks from Staten Island. Syracuse should roll in this game. Not much more of a preview needed. With a 4:00pm start we’ll all get some quality tailgating in for the Dome opener.
Syracuse vs. Tulane: Tulane gave Syracuse a bit of a game in New Orleans a couple seasons ago. However, Syracuse did manage to pull out a win. Syracuse should do the same this year. The game is in the Carrier Dome, and Tulane is not a team that should surprise the Orange in terms of unexpected talent or playing way above themselves. This should be a solid win, despite the fact that the game may be close in the first half. Did you know Tulane is one of only 13 FBS schools that don’t have an “s” on the end of their nickname? Syracuse is another. Name the other eleven for personal satisfaction.
Syracuse vs. Clemson: Homecoming (NOT Orange Central) just happens to be a big game and the first conference game for Syracuse in the ACC. Clemson is ranked in the Top Ten preseason polls and will be the favorite to head to the ACC Championship game to face the other division winner. Tajh Boyd is one of the most talented players in the ACC this season and should give Syracuse a lot to handle. Despite being Homecoming, and despite the Orange’s track record of upsetting ranked teams in the Dome the last few seasons, I just think this one slips away for Syracuse. Too much talent on the other sideline.
Syracuse @ NC State: The Wolfpack will be the surprise team in the ACC this year, overachieving where they, in theory, have no business being. Syracuse could come in and play tough, or they could lose on the road. My gut says pick NC State and we’ll try again in the Dome next season.
Syracuse @ Georgia Tech: Somewhat of a surprise in last year’s ACC, they headed to the title game, losing to FSU. While the pieces aren’t all there from last year, they probably have enough to hold off Syracuse on the road. The Yellow Jackets have been a personal nemesis for me in my college career as my first and last games as a student were both against Georgia Tech, both resulting in losses. At least the latter got Coach P fired.
Syracuse vs. Wake Forest: Parents Weekend in the Dome, which means no student section to speak of. However, the Dome will be full and moderately loud for the Demon Deacons as they try and beat Syracuse, a team Syracuse beat in overtime to start their 2011 campaign. While the Dome probably won’t be as loud as normal, Syracuse should be able to hold them off again. I like Syracuse in this one at home.
Syracuse @ Maryland: Syracuse has gotten Edsall’ed before. The Orange alum beat Syracuse at Connecticut consistently in the Doug Marrone era before heading off to his “dream job” in College Park. Maryland was kind of sad last season, losing every competent quarterback they had right before the season started. While they will be better this year, this is a game I think Syracuse can steal. Although this game is on the road, I think Syracuse surprises the Terps in this one with a decent road crowd from the greater DC area. And Scott Shafer sends the Terps to the Big Ten with a loss.
Syracuse @ Florida State: Uhh… yeah I don’t think we’re winning this one chief. A few years ago almost anyone I knew in education getting their masters ended up getting them at Florida State. Syracuse has traditionally played tough against FSU but this is not the year that should happen. I do think Florida State tries to sleepwalk through the game against the Orange and has it closer than they would like in the third quarter, but I see the Seminoles pulling away in the fourth.
Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh: Hey haven’t we seen you guys here before? Pittsburgh is on the quest to get back to Birmingham, but they won’t be getting help from the Orange. Rutgers defector Tom Savage is back from the dead and leading the Panthers into the Dome to try and get a win. However I think right now Syracuse has the better club and Syracuse traditionally plays the Panthers tough in the Dome. There should be a good crowd on hand and Syracuse fans will be ready to see an old familiar foe.
Syracuse vs. Boston College: It’s odd to say but this is now the premier conference rivalry for Syracuse Football. A throwback to the Big East days gone by, the Eagles come to the Dome trying to get a conference win and maybe, at this point, try and get more than one conference win. Steve Addazio is in his first year as BC’s head coach, and the result should be similar to what he experienced against the Orange at Temple last season. Syracuse should earn the win. Time to relearn the words to the old BC Fight Song. BC sucks and always will.
So there is my season outlook. I am predicting a 7-5 season, and with that means another Bowl Game. While not a spectacular season, and certainly there is room for Syracuse to absolutely blow a game with a new QB and a new head coach, it will keep fans happy and in the Bowl Season. Recruiting has obviously improved the last few seasons and Shafer has continued to improve talent. Syracuse could be a major conference player in a few seasons, but for now just be happy we are in the ACC and not some league with no respect and no talent. I’ll take this season if it shakes out this way and call it a victory for us all.
John’s Season Preview
Last year I did a preseason game by game preview. Nothing too in-depth, just my gut reaction on whether I thought Syracuse would win or lose each game. I had predicted a 5-7 season, but said that it could very easy float to 6-6, or even 7-5. Well, of course, it did, and we did the whole Pinstripe Bowl thing again and that was pretty much awesomesauce. And this season, while Yankee Stadium isn’t a possibility, another bowl berth for this year’s incarnation of the Syracuse Orange certainly is.
Syracuse vs. Penn State (MetLife Stadium): A year ago, in the shadow of the NCAA sanctions, I figured the Nittany Lions would be so decimated that even a weak Syracuse team would crush Penn State. Then PSU went and played 2012 like it had nothing to lose – and didn’t lose much. Syracuse has so many variables, notably at quarterback and at head coach. Penn State has great momentum from last year, and I think more stability right now. This might be the hardest game on the schedule to pick, and though I’m giving the W to Penn State, I don’t see a blowout, and see the 4th quarter or overtime deciding this one.
Syracuse @ Northwestern: The Wildcats came into the Carrier Dome last year and took one from us. By a point. It would be amazing for the Orange to visit Evanston and do the same thing they did to Syracuse. I don’t see it happening.
Syracuse vs. Wagner: How’s this for a Dome opener to get you pumped up?!? The competition might not be championship caliber [although it is Football Championship Subdivision caliber], but it should be a lovely Central New York Saturday afternoon with some great tailgating to get us ready for Scott Shafer’s first game at the helm under the bubble. The Orange should win its first game of the season here.
Syracuse vs. Tulane: I think it’s universally understood that we hate the wave. So it stands to reason that we would also hate the Green Wave. Like basically, we want to ban the wave. I think Syracuse puts the hurt on Tulane so bad that the Green Wave bans itself from the Dome. It’s like killing two birds with one stone.
Syracuse vs. Clemson: The first ACC Conference game for Syracuse. And it’s Homecoming. I’m anticipating one of the largest Carrier Dome crowds for a recent football game – certainly in the Scott Shafer era (duh), maybe even eclipsing anything in the Doug Marrone era. But, let’s be honest: Clemson is really good. If this game was on a Friday night, I give Syracuse a fighting chance. But, it’s not. So, win to Clemson.
Syracuse @ NC State: The first ACC Conference away game for Syracuse. That’s so special that I’ve decided to make the trek down to Raleigh for this one. And because I’ll be there, and I’m dubbing myself as being good luck (for this game only), I say the Orange steals this one from the Wolfpack.
Syracuse @ Georgia Tech: When I visited Atlanta in April for the Final Four, I discovered that the Georgia Tech campus is in a pretty rough & tumble neighborhood. And then, of course, things didn’t work out so well for Boeheim’s squad inside the Georgia Dome. I don’t think Shafer’s squad has any better luck at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Give this one to the Yellow Jackets.
Syracuse vs. Wake Forest: In the grand scheme of things, this is a team with which Syracuse has some recent history. That has little bearing on the outcome, however. This is Syracuse’s Parents Weekend (or, as they call it now, Family Weekend), so there should be a decent crowd for this early November tilt. I’ll put a W down for the Orange.
Syracuse @ Maryland: As fate has it, Syracuse & Maryland only get to play each other once as ACC opponents. But also as fate has it, this series will continue after the Terrapins make their way to the wasteland that is Big Ten football. Two things are certain for this game: Maryland will wear something hideous, and Randy Edsall will do something stupid. This is a fence game for me, but there’s something telling me to pick Syracuse.
Syracuse @ Florida State: We all know that a Syracuse win at FSU would undoubtedly be the highlight of the 2013 season and would make everyone think “Hey, Syracuse joining the ACC was a really good idea!” Well, everyone except the Seminoles. But let’s get real. It ain’t happening.
Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh: Hey, don’t we know you from somewhere? It’s like when you’re in an abusive relationship, decide to move out to get away, then you still end up running into each other all the time because you shop at the same store and still have a lot of friends in common. I don’t personally know what that’s like, but my family court clients do. To make a long story short, Syracuse wins.
Syracuse vs. Boston College: By my calculations, Syracuse enters this game 6-5. Syracuse is bowl eligible, and with plenty of ACC bowls to go around, they’ve locked it in for one of them. This game also officially renews the annual post-Thanksgiving rivalry game with the Eagles, like it used to be in Big East play all those years ago. Unfortunately I see the Orange with a turkey hangover and too much confidence, having already clinched the bowl berth. The loss here leaves Syracuse at 6-6 to finish out the regular season.
Chances are, I’m way off with some of these picks. But I think it’s safe to say we’ll see a pretty middling season out of our Orange. Which is fine with me, all things considering: new coach, new conference, new quarterback. Take each win where you can get it, and maybe, just maybe, you have enough to get you to a late December game.
So there you have it. The mega Orange::44 preview you've been wanting and expecting. I'm predicting 7-5 and John is going with a 6-6 season. Either way, we both say a Bowl game is in the future for Syracuse Football. As always, stay tuned here for previews and recaps from every Syracuse Football game this season. We'll see how the team does with our usual grading system.