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The 2016 Orange::44 Football Season Preview

Guess who's back!
Hey, it looks like it's time for another ACC Football Preview. Giddy up. 2016 is here and football is starting. We couldn't be more excited to be publishing our latest preview. Enjoy!
Brian's Season Preview
Syracuse vs. Rhode Island: For the past few years, Syracuse has started the year with an FCS game. This year is no different. What I'm hoping is different, is the starting QB not getting injured in the first game of the season. No Hoodoo here though. Colgate isn't beating Syracuse.
Syracuse vs. Louisville: L'ville seems like it's much better than anyone thought they would be. However, Syracuse has a history of playing the Cardinals tight, especially on a Friday night. Cards will be just too much for the new staff to handle in game 2 however. Syracuse is 1-1.
Syracuse vs. South Florida: At this point, I'm honestly not sure what to think of USF. I like SU's chances being at home. And this is Syracuse's Homecoming game. Because it is Homecoming and I think USF will be worse this year than last, I'll take the Orange at home. And, of course, the University of South Florida is not in South Florida.
Syracuse at Connecticut: I'm chomping at the bit to see this one. Syracuse has waited a long time to give it to UConn on their home (air?)field. Syracuse has managed to handle the non-conference basketball games they have played. Not it's time for football. I sat through the lean years. This time, I think Syracuse is going to beat UConn at home. I'll take the Orange in a grudge match where I will personally unleash years of pent up frustration, hoping that all those people I know that are UConn alums will somehow feel it deep in their soul. UConn... U SUCK!
Syracuse vs. Notre Dame ("neutral"): MetLife will be full of both Notre Dame and Syracuse alumni. Both sets of fans will want to see their team win. While an upset by Syracuse is possible in this one, Notre Dame has too much talent to allow a Syracuse win, even if they try and phone it in. Syracuse will probably keep it close so your heart breaks, but hey, if Greg Robinson can beat Notre Dame, so can Dino Babers.
Syracuse at Wake Forest: I just don't see the logic of picking Wake Forest over Syracuse to finish better in the ACC. I also don't see how anyone could pick against the Orange in this one. Syracuse has beaten Wake Forest for the last 3 years. This year will be no different. If this is a 12:30 game like John thinks it will be, I can't wait to be on the West Coast and be weirded out about pre-noon football.
Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech: In 2002 I saw the greatest college football game I have ever seen in person. Syracuse beat #7 Virginia Tech in Triple Overtime in the Carrier Dome. It isn't 2002. Hell, it isn't even 2010. Virginia Tech may have a new coach, but this isn't the year Syracuse gets a win against the Hokies again.
Syracuse at Boston College: You beautiful bastards did it. You lost all of them. Every single ACC game last year in football and basketball. I like Steve Addazio, but he isn't getting it done. And he hired Coach P to the staff. He's the D Line coach, which I know he's good at. But still. No good friends. BC is starting to be so sad it isn't even fun to beat them anymore. Wait... no that's not true. It's still awesome. Superfrauds.
Syracuse at Clemson: Clemson might finally win the National Championship this year. So... yeah.
Syracuse at NC State: I can't seem to ever be able to tell if NC State will be good. Basically whatever I predict for this game, NC State tends to do the opposite. So by that logic I should say Syracuse will win this because I think NC State will. But whatever. NC State is winning this game.
Syracuse vs. Florida State: I'll be at this game, which of course means that SU will look pretty good in the first quarter, and then slowly fade as FSU takes over. Story of my life the last 10 years.
Syracuse at Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh is another program on the way up. James Conner is an awesome story and I'm super happy for him. I'd like to beat Pitt, but not in the way i crave it against UConn and Georgetown. But hey, the good news is that Syracuse always plays Pittsburgh tough. At least in the Dome. And this is in Heinz. So I guess I'm picking Pitt.
So I'm calling 4 wins. Which I think is reasonable for a first year coach, and where the offensive side of the team is right now. Not too bad I would say. And it's not like there isn't any possibility of the team getting a couple upsets and making a bowl. It's there. Barely. But hey, you gotta start somewhere.
John's Season Preview
Welcome to my fifth annual game by game preview for Orange::44. I only know it's fifth because this template is a copy & past job from last year, which claimed to be the fourth. Anyway, as per usual, this year's iteration of the Orange carries with it a lot of questions, a lot of unknowns. Out with the old (Scott Shafer) and in with the new (Dino Babers). There's a solid group of returning players, yet a daunting schedule even for the best of teams. So this is Probably gonna be an "expect the worst but hope for the best" kind of season. Here's my best guess which, at best, will be way off:
Syracuse vs. Colgate: Dino Babers has gone out of his way to do what every coach in his situation would do: talk up the FCS team you're debuting against. Smart for two reasons: if you beat them, then you beat what you talked up was a good team; if you lose to them, you lost to a team you talked up was a good team. Simple logic, really. Orange is the New Fast, and Colgate is red, so we've got that going for us. The good news for the Dome attendees is that the Syracuse forecast for Friday is a high in the low to mid 70s, so the Dome won't be the hot sauna is typically is for these season openers. Let's start the Babers Era with a win.
Syracuse vs. Louisville: "Another year with a random ACC game early in the season. And it's fine that it's Wake Forest." That's the copy and past from last year. This year, Wake Forest is Louisville. Yet there's no mistaking the difference between the two. The Cards should be decent this year. The Orange have two things going for it in this one: Syracuse seems to love (and do well) playing Louisville in the Domeon Friday nights; and it's early enough in the season that maybe Syracuse has its shit together more so than Louisville. I mean, who knows? But I'll just say the Cardinals probably win.
Syracuse vs. South Florida: Game 3 is Homecoming. Remember, that's the correct and only name. Speaking of wrong names, the University of South Florida is still in Tampa, which is not in south Florida. Maybe, just maybe, Syracuse figures out a way to win this game. I think a well coached team that executes as it should, should win this game. We should probably know if Syracuse is that kind of team by this game. The optimist in me picks Syracuse, and finishes the September home slate 2-1. 
Syracuse at Connecticut: First, let me premise this preview by stating that I might be traveling to Rentschler Field for this game. Second, I've always hated UConn. Mostly in basketball, but unfortunately things in football haven't always gone the way of the Orange, especially in East Hartford. But hey, the Huskies are having a great time in the Big East, no, Conference USA, no, the American Athletic Conference, or maybe hopefully the Big 12, ha but whatever. Let's stop being polite, and start being Real. The Real World: Storrs. A bunch of losers. Syracuse improves to 3-1.
Syracuse vs. Notre Dame ("neutral"): Syracuse was marketed as New York's College Team because of this outrageously long contract to play home games at MetLife Stadium. And then Syracuse said Nope, No More. So this is the last of that. Geographically, this should be a Syracuse home game. But Notre Dame is America's College Team, and America trumps New York (that was a verb before Donald's family changed from Drumpf). Bottom line is that some legal issues among some Fighting Irish players won't deter the rest of the team from beating the Orange. Also, I won't be in attendance because I'll be in San Francisco watching the Giants & Dodgers battle it out at the end of the season. Fancy pants.
Syracuse at Wake Forest: This game is destined to be a noon-thirty on the ACC Digital Network. I'll be in Portland, Oregon prepping for my sister's wedding. Brian will be there too. We'll huddle around either my phone or his with some mimosas at 9:30am local time. We should, in theory, see a Syracuse victory.
Syracuse vs. Virginia Tech: This will be Virginia Tech's first trip to the Carrier Dome since Frank Beamer retired. It'll be weird. But this isn't the era of Michael Vick, or lollipop sticks in the turf. This is 2016. Could this go three overtimes? Sure. But probably not. Could Syracuse win? Sure. But probably not.
Syracuse at Boston College: Boston College's coaching staff has an Orange tint (or taint?) to it. Quite frankly, I don't think that's good for either team. The Eagles had exactly zero ACC football wins last night (same number in basketball as I recall, too). God only knows how bad they'll be this year. By all accounts, Syracuse should be the better team, and should definitely win this game. So let's go with that. Otherwise we'll all hate ourselves. Let's also pour some out because the schedule makers at the home office and/or ESPN put this game in October instead of Thanksgiving weekend. Like, I thought BC was our designated rival, and we were supposed to play our designated rival the last weekend of the regular season, which coincides with Thanksgiving weekend. But, what do I know? I guess this is why I'm just a simple country lawyer. 
Syracuse at Clemson: Clemson was good last year. Clemson will be good this year. Likely undefeated and #1 coming into this game. It would no doubt be easy for the Tigers to overlook Syracuse, but honestly I don't see Dabo Swinney letting his players do that. Especially at home. Give this one to Clemson.
Syracuse vs. NC State: Syracuse returns to the Carrier Dome for the first time in almost a month to play this game. The season opener for basketball will be right around this game, so look for the Syracuse fan base to be out in full force, loud, and cheering on the team. I give the win to Syracuse anyway, but in a tight game, Syracuse wins with its home field advantage. Oddly enough, this gives the Orange six wins on the season. Bowl eligible on November 12? Sure. I won't be right, though. But we can dream.
Syracuse vs. Florida State: This will be Senior Day, the final home game of the season. An already bowl eligible Syracuse team would certainly be riled up for this one, as would be the fans in attendance. But all that mojo isn't gonna will a win out of Syracuse.
Syracuse at Pittsburgh: If this is our new annual end of the season rivalry game, then I'll be a little sad. Let's just assume it's not. Anyway, Pittsburgh is a fine city, and the football team more often than not has Syracuse's number. Even when Pitt's not very good. This game probably doesn't have bowl eligibility implications, but it probably has seeding implications. For at least one of the teams. Syracuse doesn't play well in Pittsburgh, and the weather will probably be horrendous, and the field will probably be in horrible condition because that's just what always seems to happen. I guess that all spells a win for the Panthers.
Another year, and another annual preview totally devoid of any actual football analysis. It looks like I'm predicting a 6-6 regular season, which is good enough to send Syracuse back to the Pinstripe Bowl. It's been several years, and even the Syracuse advertising is gone from Yankee Stadium, so the Steinbrenner family will love to have some Orange back in the Bronx!

(Please note that I was neither drunk nor high at any point while composing this preview. Crazy, maybe.)

So there you have it. John says 6-6 and I say 4-8. John is a bit more optimistic than me, but hey, hope springs eternal in the Salt City. I look forward to what this new staff and these kids can do. And like I said, it's not like upsets are unheard of. Stay tuned for football coverage all season long as we return with our usual game previews, postgame report cards, and the dreaded crying child.

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