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The 2017 Orange::44 Football Season Preview

It's another year. So yeah, we're excited.
Another year. Another tough schedule for Syracuse. Typical. Either way, we're ready for the 2017 Football Season. Enjoy!
Brian's Season Preview
Syracuse vs. Central Connecticut: 1-AA (FCS) CConn coming into the Dome. And coming in hot. If Syracuse loses this, we're packing it in for the 2017 season. Syracuse takes on their traditional lower division opponent and should roll.
Syracuse vs. Middle Tennessee: Murfreesboro's finest head into Syracuse to take on the Orange and try to avenge the NCAA Basketball Tournament loss from 2016. Also interesting is former Orange Head Coach Scott Shafer is on the staff as D Coordinator. It should be interesting, but Syracuse should pull away in the second half. Especially if Shafer has the same quality of safeties as he did while at Syracuse.
Syracuse vs. Central Michigan: Syracuse has a recent tradition of playing directional Michigan teams. Syracuse has beaten Central Michigan in 2015 and on my wedding day in 2014 at Central Michigan. Syracuse will so the same this year, keeping the winning momentum rolling. And I'm guessing they won't need overtime to do it.
Syracuse at Louisiana State: I'd love to say Syracuse will be in this game, like they were when LSU came into the Dome a couple years ago. But I don't think there is any way Syracuse travels to LSU and gets an upset. Despite the upset last year of VTech, Syracuse just will not be able to handle a blue blood from the SEC like LSU yet. Yet.
Syracuse at North Carolina State: NC State is one of the most schizophrenic teams of the last few seasons. They took eventual Natty Champ Clemson to OT last season, but finished 7-6. This year they should be a better team. And Syracuse has never really had their number. I don't like they have to travel to NC State as well. I'm calling this a loss.
Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh: Syracuse's Homecoming Game (go to hell Orange Central) sees an old rival head into the Dome. This game was bonkers last season, seeing Pittsburgh win over Syracuse 76 to 61. That game outscored the SU/Pitt basketball game. Ridiculous. However, I think Syracuse will be a more polished team this season on offense. It just matters if Syracuse can stop Pitt. And Pitt's offense should be weaker this year than it was last season, losing James Conner and starting a transfer QB. I'll take the Orange in a big turning point for the season.
Syracuse vs. Clemson: Did you know, Clemson won the National Championship last season? This begins Syracuse's murders row in the middle of the schedule. Syracuse will be lucky to cover the spread.
Syracuse at Miami: I think Miami is going to be a lot better than people expect. I do know that Syracuse hasn't played Miami in a long time. And this isn't the year Syracuse will shock them.
Syracuse at Florida State: After Syracuse flies back from Miami, they have to turn around and fly back to Florida. Syracuse will again be lucky to cover the spread. FSU is the front running pick to win the ACC.
Syracuse vs. Wake Forest: Since joining the ACC, Syracuse has only lost to Wake Forest once. That was last season at Wake Forest in basically a torrential rain. Syracuse is in the Dome this year. Syracuse will again be better than Wake Forest.
Syracuse at Louisville: Did you see that highlight Louisville had last year in the Dome. ESPN only played it a billion times. Louisville will be very good, lead by Heisman winner Lamar Jackson. He's very good. Syracuse is not winning.
Syracuse vs. Boston College: The ACC decided to move this very important rivalry back to where it belongs: The Saturday after Thanksgiving. Syracuse takes on BC in the Dome. For some reason, despite beating Boston College three out of the last four meetings, people keep picking Syracuse to lose to Boston College. It bugs the hell out of me. I can see you saying that about almost any game before this. But what logic could you possibly use to justify picking BC over Syracuse? It's maddening. Syracuse is winning this one. And if they have five wins before this, guess who's Bowling?
I called four wins for Syracuse last year. They got four wins. I'm calling six wins for Syracuse this year. Will they get 6 and make a Bowl Game? It all depends on if Syracuse gets it done early, and then wins versus Pittsburgh. If Syracuse beats Pitt at home, Syracuse should earn a Bowl Game pending some serious injuries to the team. If they don't, at least the team should get better. And Babers has been recruiting well. I think Syracuse should win more than last year though, and that's good.

John’s Season Preview
Welcome to my sixth annual game by game preview for Orange::44. [I only know it's sixth because this template is a copy & paste job from last year, which claimed to be the fifth, copying the fourth.] Anyway, as per usual, this year's iteration of the Orange carries with it a lot of questions, a lot of unknowns. We're entering Year Two of Dino Babers, and expectations are relatively high -- set by Head Coach himself. I can subscribe to this. Here's my best guess which, at best, will be way off, or at worse might lead us to a bowl game (or maybe that should be reversed?):
Syracuse vs. Central Connecticut: This is the perennial "FCS season opener" which, once again, falls on the Friday night before Labor Day. This should be as much a tradition as BC on the Saturday after Thanksgiving* (*see later...). Anyway, nothing from Connecticut is good. Sports-wise, anyway. This should be a great confidence-builder for the Orange, and I look for Eric Dungey & crew to put up a lot of points. As an added bonus, the forecast temperature in Syracuse is a high of 63, so as opposed to recent season openers, the Dome shouldn't be 109 degrees. My peeps and I will be watching this win from our season seats in 209.
Syracuse vs. Middle Tennessee State: True story: I just drove my sister from Eugene, Oregon to Sebring, Florida. In the process, we (well, I was the only one who) drove through Tennessee, and at one point I saw a sign for Middle Tennessee State. I didn't exit, just made a mental note. This team features Scott Shafer, who had a great tenure at Syracuse as defensive coordinator but floundered as head coach. Back in a role where he can flourish, and knowing how to handle the Dome and the Orange, makes him a tough opponent. But I think I'd take a Dino Babers offense over a Scott Shafer defense. I mean, we have to, right?
Syracuse vs. Central Michigan: Syracuse has a long recent history with directional Michigan schools. It's too bad there aren't schools named after the thumb and mittens (these are real Michigan terms, look it up!). This will be the second straight 3:30pm start for Syracuse, which bodes well for the fan base. Which bodes well for the team. There's no good reason Syracuse doesn't start the season 3-0.
Syracuse at Louisiana State: Yours truly SOOOOOOO wanted to go to this game! I have more vacation time than I can use, it's an easy flight to New Orleans, and, as some of you might remember from 2003, I just wanna go to my room! That might be another story for another time. At any rate, the barrage of murder and attempted murder cases I have pending right now have made this trip impossible for me. I'm super bummed, because this is about the time that Dino Babers says his team should turn the corner and truly be competitive with high caliber teams. Plus, you know, a trip to New Orleans (yeah, I know, LSU is Baton Rouge, but base of operations would be NO). Additionally, when LSU visited Syracuse a couple years ago, I was highly impressed with their fans -- just true football fans, pure, weren't assholes. Plus, I saw a pregnant woman in Faegans in LSU gear drinking O'Doul's. That's dedication to a cause. LSU probably wins this, sinking Syracuse to 3-1, but this would be a signature upset for Dino & the Orange and would likely solidify a Bowl game.
Syracuse at North Carolina State: NCState has been one of those teams on par, or better, than Syracuse the last couple years. After the first four games, where Syracuse should be 3-1, this is a great opportunity for the Orange to really showcase its talent. It's a tough, but winnable, game. This is probably a coin toss, which favors the home team, so I'll give it to NCState. But if Syracuse is coming off a win at LSU, or has played really well there and has momentum, Syracuse has a real shot in this one.
Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh: Syracuse's Homecoming. This blog doesn't subscribe to other names for this traditional event. I have a confession: I probably will not be in attendance for this game. I have a cousin getting married, so unless this ends up being an 8:30pmkick or something like that, I have other commitments. That being said, this might be the best game in the Dome this season. Syracuse & Pitt are pretty evenly matched, as they have been in recent years. I don't see a shootout like we saw at Heinz Field last season, but this could be a relatively high scoring and close game. But I think the combination of it being a Syracuse home game, and Homecoming, make it likely that we'll see an Orange victory.
Syracuse vs. Clemson: I'm 35 years old. My hope is that, sometime before I'm 40, Syracuse and Clemson will be a competitive game. Unfortunately, 2017 in the Carrier Dome is not that time. Syracuse goes to 4-3. I will, however, state again that Syracuse seems to work some magic on Friday nights. (See also, the past). I mean, anything could happen. But don't count on it.
Syracuse at Miami: Did you know that Syracuse and Miami used to be in the Big East? Yes, you probably did. Ignorant people don't read this blog. I feel like the Hurricanes have been a solid, but underperforming, squad since joining the ACC. Particularly since Syracuse jumped in. In the Carrier Dome, at this point (given Babers' outlook on his team's progression) I might say Syracuse could win this in the Dome, but at "Hard Rock Stadium" (it'll always be Joe Robbie Stadium, or Land Shark Stadium, to me), the 'Canes probably have this.
Syracuse at Florida State: Coming off a bye week, you might think Syracuse would be in the best position to win this game. And, quite frankly, that's probably the best position they can be in. But, honestly, it probably won't happen. I'm writing this on August 31, before FSU plays Alabama on Saturday. That will be the big test for the Seminoles, obviously, but how they perform in that game might give Dino & his crew an idea on how to best approach this game. Does Syracuse win? Ha. Nope. But this game has competitive potential.
Syracuse vs. Wake Forest: After a month away, Welcome back to the Carrier Dome! Here we are, in November, and who knows where these teams will be. Syracuse will be battle-tested. Wake will need to be healthy and without major suspensions, as they enter the season. Like NCState above, I see this as a coin toss, which would likely favor the home team. I guess that bodes well for the Orange.
Syracuse at Louisville: Without looking it up, I feel like it's been a while since we've seen the Cardinals this late in the season. We all know what happened in this game last year, because we keep seeing that clip on SportsCenter. There's only one way to overcome that: with a better highlight with Syracuse getting the better of Louisville. Game plan here should totally focus on how the Orange are looking thus far, and I have faith that Dino Babers has something up his sleeve to somehow win this game. Syracuse glides into its final game already bowl eligible at 5-6, with a probable loss in this game.
Syracuse vs. Boston College: Here we go. A return to the Saturday after Thanksgiving game. The ACC (or ESPN) just plain fucked this up last year. This game belongs in this weekend, forever, alternating the home field. Until you show me that Syracuse has a peer competitor in the ACC worthy of rivalry weekend, other than the Outhouse on the Hill. I think, at this point, the Syracuse offense is clicking on all cylinders, and should be able to overcome turkey to put up a lot of points. The 5-6 bowl eligible Orange should solidify a better bowl spot with a 6-6 record after this game.
It looks like I'm predicting a 6-6 regular season (which I also evidently did last year, too, so, take my predictions for whatever you want). We could go back to Yankee Stadium for a third time, or maybe some undesirable destination that we'll all have that moral struggle over: whether to support the team, or not waste money on a crappy site. But in Dino Babers' 2nd year, I think any bowl game is a win, and it's totally feasible even if one of these "wins" goes the other way.
So there it is. Both John and I are saying Syracuse wins 6 games this season. We actually agree this year. Now Syracuse just has to deliver. As always stay tuned this season for game previews, recaps, and any thoughts we have along the way. You can follow John on Twitter @JBren, and I'm @BH_Orange44. John will usually be in the Dome. I'll be in the home office for most games, if I don't have a game of my own. And as always, send any rules or officiating questions my way via Twitter all season. GO ORANGE!

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