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Western Michigan Quick Predictions

Week 1 is a very important week.
Syracuse opens the season taking the trip to Kalamazoo to take on Western Michigan. Syracuse is on a business trip to win another season opener. But this time it isn't in the Dome and it isn't against an FCS team. Syracuse needs a win to get the season off right.
The Orange are fresh off training camp and ready to have Eric Dungey lead the Orange and the offense against the Broncos. Tim Lester, former Offensive Coordinator for the Orange, will lead Western Michigan. He never really got the Orange offense together during his time in Syracuse. But Western Michigan seems to be having a better go. The good news is that Syracuse's coaches will be somewhat familiar with what to expect from WMU on the offensive end. Syracuse's defense has been a bit of a talking point this week, with the switch from what we all thought would be Nickle sets, to a 4-3. It sounds like Brian Ward, D Coordinator for Syracuse, will play this by ear depending on what Western Michigan throws at them. The good news for Syracuse is that QB Jon Wassink isn't a huge threat to stretch the field, and lead to catastrophic big plays, he is good at making completions to move the chains. Syracuse will have to put the pressure on to get the ball in the hands of Dungey. Syracuse looks to have a coming out party of sorts, with their revamped, but very veteran, Offensive Line. This looks to be the best offensive line at Syracuse is maybe a decade. That bodes well for not only protecting Dungey, but also allowing whichever SU running back happens to get the carry to go HAM on that D. While this game may be close early as the teams are adjusting to being in an actual game, I think Syracuse will be able to pull away in the 2nd half, due to their no huddle offense, and a more balanced pass/run attack. I'm taking Syracuse in the Season Opener 34 to 24.
This game is available nationally on CBS Sports Network at 6:00pm. Both John and I will be in the home offices. As always, you can find us on Twitter @BH_Orange44 and @JBren. Also as always, any rules or official questions during the game, send them my way. Best of luck to your heart as we embark on another football season and GO ORANGE!

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The 2018 Orange::44 Football Season Preview

Summer over. Football is back.

The annual summer hiatus is over. School is back in session, and so is Orange::44. We fire it up again with a Friday night tilt for the Orange. So here comes the annual preview. It’s football season baby!
Brian’s Season Preview
Another year here at Orange::44, where we break down the season for you. And things look to improve in year 3 for Dino Babers. Eric Dungey looks to take the helm again, and  hopefully maintain his health for an entire season. To good news is Syracuse has a very capable backup that may pick up where Eric leaves off. Either way, Syracuse should improve in the only statistic that matters; wins.
Syracuse at Western Michigan:  Syracuse starts their season on a rare road game. And non against an FCS squad.  But over the last several years, Syracuse has faced a “directional Michigan” team. This year, Syracuse starts at Western Michigan. W. Michigan has some ex-Syracuse staffers, so they may compete in this one, but I expect Syracuse to run it up in the 4th and pull away to start the year 1-0.
Syracuse vs. Wagner: Syracuse then heads home to take on their annual FCS game. This time the boys from Statin Island head into the Dome to most likely lose by 40sih points. This one shouldn’t be in doubt.
Syracuse vs. Florida State: The ACC fires it up early for Syracuse as the Seminoles head into town. And the Orange should be hungry to beat FSU as they are now in the Carrier Dome, and Syracuse let them escape last year, failing to tie the game and send it to OT after they missed a field goal with only a few seconds left. There’s a new coach with Willie Taggert coming in. Not sure if that will have a huge impact, but I actually think this is going to be a huge upset for the Orange. I like SU to move to 3-0.
Syracuse vs. Connecticut: Oh UConn. Randy Edsall makes another return to the Carrier Dome.  UConn isn’t a particularly big football rivalry, but it still gets the people going. And as I am unable to head to Homecoming this year, the UConn game will be the one I attend. And while the game was fairly close the last time these two teams played in East Hartford, Syracuse was basically in control. I don’t see how UConn somehow magically sprouts the talent level Syracuse has. Syracuse should win another nice home game to go 4-0. And remember kids… it’s UConn, not UCONN.
Syracuse at Clemson: Syracuse really blew up Clemson last season, upsetting #2 in the Carrier Dome. It isn’t happening again this year. 4-1.
Syracuse at Pittsburgh:  The old rivalry moves back to Pitt after Syracuse beat them last season. Syracuse should earn a win in Pittsburgh. Something that hasn’t happened in quite a while.
Syracuse vs. North Carolina: UNC wasn’t great last year. They aren’t picked to be great this year. If this was at UNC I would say they have a shot. But it’s in the Dome. If Dungey is healthy this game should be boring. Hello Bowl Game.
Syracuse vs. North Carolina State: The Wolfpack have been fairly good as of late, being able to compete with some of the best in the ACC. However, this should be a down year. Either way, I just think Syracuse is due for a let down, and a bit of a regression to the mean. I just can’t see them winning every game. SU loses a lopsided game, like they used to with Rutgers.
Syracuse at Wake Forest: God damn does it really hurt when Syracuse loses to Wake Forest. It seems like they should never beat Syracuse. But this is the rare year where they probably do, and it is deserved. Plus, never bet on Syracuse on the road in November.
Syracuse vs. Louisville: While I can definitely see this being an upset in Syracuse’s favor, I think they will end up losing, because again… November. But let’s not forget that Bobby Petrino is a scum bag of the highest order and if Louisville didn’t want to have a scum bag on the pay roll, they could do that.
Syracuse vs. Notre Dame: Syracuse heads to Yankee Stadium, a venue where they are undefeated. Sadly, this deal couldn’t be done with ND taking a trip to Syracuse. Hopefully soon. But either way, ND probably isn’t losing to Syracuse this year, sad to say. I’ll be at this game and I would love nothing more than to be in the cold and see another win after being at the last 2 Pinstripe Bowls. Sadly, Syracuse probably goes down. After all, Greg Robinson isn’t coaching this team.
Syracuse at Boston College: Ahh, the hometown match up. Living near Boston, and this game being at the end of the season, the hype train will be very high. Syracuse has a chance to possibly cement a mid-tier Bowl, or they could get blown out and it won’t matter. Either way, I’m not liking Syracuse’s recent history there. Maybe if Anish Shroff actually brought Everett’s own Diamond Ferri there, magic could happen. Sadly, it isn’t 2004. BC has a legit Heisman hopeful at HB. Syracuse goes down. Don’t pick Syracuse in November.
But I still like Syracuse going 6-6 and getting a Bowl Game. Dino Babers is on a little bit of a warm seat, despite the fact it should be ice cold. Either way, this should be a big season for Syracuse and we should see some great games and great moments.
John’s Season Preview
Welcome to my seventh annual game by game preview for Orange::44. We're entering Year Three of Dino Babers, and the fan base is probably getting impatient after two consecutive 4-8 seasons. Can we at least see improvement this season? Maybe even 6-6 and a bowl game? The games have to be played, but here's what I think might happen:
Syracuse at Western Michigan: We're playing a real team, on the road, on the Friday night before Labor Day. Not a Power-5 school, but FBS nonetheless. And really, an opportunity to play in and potentially win a road non-conference game in college is a big thing. I expect this to be a high-scoring affair: the Syracuse offense -- particularly a healthy Eric Dungey -- should produce a lot of points; while the defense probably needs some time to get into the swing of things. Plus, you know, so much of that WMU coaching staff has experience at Syracuse, so they'll figure out how to score. But I think Syracuse starts the season with a win.
Syracuse vs. Wagner: There's that FCS opponent we usually see. It's the Syracuse home opener, Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm and not up against the Great New York State Fair. I expect a decent crowd in attendance with clear bags will see the Orange advance to 2-0.
Syracuse vs. Florida State: This will be the first road game of the Willie Taggert era at Florida State. The Seminoles are coming off a season the likes of which hasn't been seen in Tallahassee in a while. As in, not great. FSU will certainly improve this year, but if Syracuse is going to have a chance to beat them, the timing/location of this game is about as good as it could be. Syracuse was *this close* to winning at FSU last year, so I'm gonna pick Syracuse to get over the hump and beat the Noles. A 3-0 start!
Syracuse vs. Connecticut: Remember, kids, friends don't let friends root for UConn. Or capitalize any other letters of UConn. This is a game Syracuse should win. It's at the Dome, and it's against UConn. Especially with the momentum coming off a win over Florida State, the Orange should get a win here and start at 4-0.
Syracuse at Clemson: The scheduling gods gave Syracuse possibly the toughest two conference games in September in FSU & Clemson. By the time this game rolls around, the Tigers will likely have settled on a starting QB, and even a 4-0 Syracuse team isn't going into Death Valley to beat Clemson.
Syracuse at Pittsburgh: The Panthers and the Orange have had a lot in common over the years. We both entered the ACC at the same time from the Big East. We've both had underperforming football teams. We both have higher expectations this season. But I think Syracuse has better talent and better coaching right now. So, 5-1 now?
Syracuse vs. North Carolina: Is there an ACC school more hated right now than UNC? Their head coach had some interesting stuff to say about CTE, they've got a bunch of suspended players, and the talent just isn't really there. This is Homecoming for Syracuse, and if my predictions hold true, this is the game Syracuse becomes bowl eligible. I'm crazy, right?
Syracuse vs. North Carolina State: The Wolfpack could struggle this year, losing some top players to the NFL. Syracuse should have the advantage in the Carrier Dome. But after hitting bowl eligibility, Syracuse loses and Orange Nation starts panicking for no reason.
Syracuse at Wake Forest: Deacs actually looks like a pretty good team this year. I've read a few things predicting Wake to upset Notre Dame in week 4. If there's that kind of hype, then let's just assume Syracuse loses down in the Forest.
Syracuse vs. Louisville: Last year it was Clemson. In other years it has been Louisville. What I'm referring to is the "Good team visiting the Carrier Dome on a Friday for an upset." This is the final home game of the season, Senior night, and in November. So I'm guessing Syracuse loses. I mean, maybe it's a toss-up, but I'll go Louisville.
Syracuse vs. Notre Dame: This game originally was scheduled for South Bend, but the Irish moved it to Yankee Stadium. They'll be wearing special pinstripe uniforms. Syracuse will probably end up wearing something stupid like platinum. Anyway, the Orange::44 crew will be in attendance for this game (and I'll also be at MSG on Thursday and Friday for the 2K Classic games). ND's supposed to be too good to lose this game, and Syracuse will be hitting that November wall again, so mark this down as a Syracuse loss.
Syracuse at Boston College: The ACC/ESPN got this right last year, putting this game the weekend after Thanksgiving. This game belongs in this weekend, forever, alternating the home field. This is the return game at Chestnut Hill. Maybe I'll go to this one too. The Eagles stole the game in the Dome last year, so the Orange have to steal this one at Alumni Stadium.
I just predicted a 7-5 season. Three more wins than last year, a bowl berth, and finally some confidence in the program and in Dino Babers. This could be the year we look back at in the future and say this is when the program turned around for good, and stayed good. Or, maybe I'm just being the eternal end-of-August optimist and will be crying myself to sleep in a few weeks. Gotta play the games and find out. I hope you go out and support the team and see what happens!

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