Hello old friend. Wait... this isn't a basketball game!
Time to open up another football season at Syracuse. Students started class this week, and college football has returned. Expectations are high in Central New York. Syracuse needs to start their season off right, as a nightmare October looms.
Syracuse takes on a familiar team in the Villanova Wildcats. Former fellow members of the Big East in basketball, these teams have decided to play each other on the gridiron. 'Nova is an FCS team, but a pretty good 1-AA team at that. Villanova won the National Championship in 2009 and have been fairly good since. However, they have failed to make the playoffs since 2012. That being said, they're picked to finish second in their conference, and are looking to put together a nice season, having almost all of their successful players from last year back. This game will probably come down to quarterback play. Terrel Hunt was named the starter in camp (no surprise) and will start the year out behind center, looking to build on the momentum from last year's Bowl winning campaign. Villanova will start John Robertson, who was the key to any success Villanova had last year. He's become a pretty serious passing threat, however questions remain if his offensive line can protect him enough or give him enough time to throw the ball. My gut says that the front defensive line will stop any Villanova rush attack and force Robertson to do most, if not all of the heavy lifting on offense for the Wildcats. But with the run stopped, and Coach Shafer's inclination to blitz and blitz again with a heavy pass rush, I think Robertson is going to have a pretty difficult start, middle, and probably end to his day. Quick side note: Villanova has a player named Poppy Livers. True story! I don't think Syracuse blows Villanova out of the Dome, but I do think they'll have enough of a win to declare that the season is off to a promising start. I'll take Syracuse over Villanova 41 to 17.
Syracuse plays tonight at 7:30pm eastern, and the game will be available nationally on ESPN 3 / WatchESPN. The game will be broadcast on TV locally in Upstate NY if you have the correct TV package, but my guess is the broadcast will be letterboxed and look like crap. You're better putting ESPN 3 up on your TV if you can. John is in the Dome and I'll be in the home office watching. Say hi. You know how to do that.