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Penn State Quick Predictions

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!

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The 2013 Orange::44 Football Season Preview

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.

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The Unofficial Rules of Syracuse Fandom

We love rules around here.
It’s a new season, a new conference, and another year here at Orange::44. Therefore, as a public service to the fans, especially the new freshmen on campus, we should brief you on some of those unofficial things you should know to do things the right way this season. We have published many of the guidelines we think fans at Syracuse should operate under. Here are a few, more nuanced, ones.
1. No Wave
Important rule or THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE? It’s been a couple seasons since all of the Syracuse bloggers got together and released the definitive anti-wave video. None of us think The Wave has any place in the Carrier Dome for any sport. The wave was big in the 80’s, and not to make any readers feel old, but incoming freshmen are born in roughly 1995. Despite looking like fools, The Wave doesn’t help the players play better, and if anything lets them know that you aren’t really paying attention to what is happening on the field. It doesn’t exactly create an intimidating atmosphere for opponents entering “The Loud House” either.
2. Only Wear Orange (Blue Fine For Football [No White or Gray])
They honestly shouldn’t even sell white jerseys at Syracuse. When your team has a color for a nickname you should probably just go ahead and buy a jersey in that color. For basketball, the Dome should be packed with the students and everyone else in orange. Football is a little more complicated. They usually wear navy blue uniforms, but have been selling orange ones in stores. Do what you feel on that one. I myself have a #44 navy jersey from the McNabb era, only because that was the home jersey they wore. The team hasn’t worn an orange jersey in a few years, and when they did last Greg Robinson was coach, but who knows what will happen now in the ACC. But do make sure it’s a #44 if you’re getting a football jersey. I gave a really good try in writing an official rule for this so check that out here.
3. #44
Why, just today this issue went around the internets. At least know a few of the people that wore #44 at Syracuse and why it’s important. Namely, Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, and Floyd Little. However, there are plenty more great players that have donned the number. Ernie Davis has the Dome turf named after him, a Dorm and dining hall, a statue and a movie. Jim Brown is Jim Brown. Floyd Little works for the Athletic Department and you can probably meet him. Check it out.
4. Rules of Court Storming
Over seven years ago, the founder of this notebook, Matt Glaude (@HoyaSuxa), wrote a piece with the definitive guideline for when to storm your local basketball arena’s court. I can’t add to it any more. Go here and peruse the rules. They are solid. But overall, just use common sense. If the team is really that great you probably shouldn’t storm the court, even though it’s a blast.
5. No Spirit Fingers
This is a basketball specific rule. When Syracuse players shoot free throws, the student section and members of The Sour Sitrus Society (the basketball pep band) put their hands up. You might be tempted but it looks terrible. No spirit fingers please. Just… no.
6. Clap Before A Field Goal, Even Free Throws
Another basketball specific rule. Before each half all fans stand up and clap until Syracuse scores their first field goal. While it usually is not the case, sometimes this takes a few minutes so fans are standing and clapping for a longer time than preferred. This also means that if there is a foul you have to clap through those as well. You clap until the ball is in the hands of the Syracuse player, they shoot, and then you continue clapping. Good mechanics are always appreciated.
7. Never Leave Early
This rule applies to all sports equally. Why pay all that money to just go home early. But honestly, teams come back. I’ve seen it. We all have. But also, it isn’t going to get you home that much quicker. Enjoy the time spent with your family or friends at a game. And maybe see a crazy ending you’ll be upset you missed.
8. Don't Constantly Scream How Terrible The Syracuse Coach/Players Is/Are
This happens more than it should in the Carrier Dome, especially at football. Yelling that Ryan Nassib sucks not only wasn’t true last season, but it isn’t helpful and just pisses off the people around you. If you hate the players don’t come to watch them.
9. Sit Over The Number On Your Ticket
This one doesn’t’ really apply to students or lacrosse games as they are general admission, but it is important for busy football and basketball games. I understand that some fans out there aren’t, shall we say, the tiniest people in the world. And with just benches instead of actual seats it might be tough to stay where you are. But when the upper section is packed it is important for you to sit directly over a number to a seat your group possesses. Otherwise someone gets screwed on space. It’s been me a lot over the years.
10. Don’t Be That Drunk Guy/Girl
It’s cool to drink in the Dome, one of the few college arenas on campus to let you do so in. Just don’t go overboard. We’ve already seen the number of beers you can buy decrease from four to two in the last five years. Getting rid of beer probably won’t ever happen, but they can make it more inconvenient. Don’t be stumbling up and down the aisles, tripping on people, and definitely don’t get so drunk you vomit in the seats. Being buzzed for a game can be enjoyable. Not remembering a game is just dumb.
There you have it. A nice set of rules to follow when you head to the Carrier Dome or are on the road watching The Orange. Some of these may seem archaic but they are, in fact, rooted in tradition and are far from arbitrary. Love/hate them? Leave a comment. The usual constructive rules apply this season.

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Welcome Back!

Pretty soon you'll have to dodge clueless freshmen on this again.
Another college football season is around the corner so it's time to fire Orange::44 back up again for another year and another season chronicling the daily disaster that is Syracuse University Athletics. For most of you guys visiting this site you probably have regularly for the last few years, maybe since the beginning. Welcome back and we thank you for checking us out again. For you new students or fans, allow this to be your invitation and introduction to our site.
Orange::44 Correspondent John Brennan is a lawyer. I am too. We both graduated from Syracuse, John twice. They call us #Lawdogs, more often than not when the unfortunate scenario of a Syracuse player is arrested. For some reason the traffic really spikes around here.
We've been blogging here for a while so feel free to peruse the archive to the right. I'll be updating the side bar shortly to officially bring this blog into the ACC. Additionally we'll have our ACC football previews this week, along with some other posts to shake the cobwebs off and lead us into the new year. Then we'll fall into our usual routines of previews and recaps. This year we'll have some new features as well, namely focusing on officiating and other ACC things. As always, any questions or comments can be left on each individual article or at the e-mail address to the right. We look forward to a fun first season in the ACC, and another great year for Syracuse. Go Orange!

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