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North Carolina State Quick Predictions

Welcome to prime time.
It took a couple overtimes, but Syracuse beat North Carolina in the Dome last week, with the help of Touchdown Tommy. Syracuse now has to decide who takes the helm for the Syracuse Offense against a very good NC State team in Syracuse's first prime time Saturday game since 2010.
NC State is a pretty good football team, squeaking into the Top 25, despite not getting the job done against Clemson (we know the feeling). The potential of these two offenses is pretty similar. Eric Dungey is a true dual threat QB, but Tommy DeVito can really through he ball. I think Dungey will start, but both will see time. Because why not? Frankly, you can just rotate 2 QBs with little to no downside. The big issue is can the Syracuse defense again step up to the plate, limit the big plays, and stop the NC State attack? The front four of Syracuse have generally been up to the task. But really it was a combination of bad scheme and fatigue that doomed Syracuse at Pittsburgh. And it was allowing some big plays that almost made last Saturday tragic. As long as Syracuse keeps NC State in front of them, it should help. However, the most interesting factor is Special Teams. Syracuse has the 4th best Special Teams unit in the country. NC State has one of the worst. Syracuse could set themselves up for success by playing the field position game. Because Syracuse very well may have the best punter in the league. Either way, this game is truly a coin flip. Syracuse is at home, but I just have a bad feeling about this one. While Syracuse should be able to handle a team like UNC or Louisville, and Syracuse has a history of taking down ranked teams in prime time in the Dome, I just keep having a feeling of dread about this game. Knowing that Syracuse needs one more game to go Bowling, and knowing what is remaining on the schedule, I'm confident Syracuse will get there, but I am not confident it's happening this weekend. I'm taking NC State in a tight one, 38 to 31.
This game is available nationally on a Saturday night. Kick is at 7:00pm on ESPN 2 or WatchESPN. You know John will be in the Dome, in his seat ready to go. After a quick trough nap. I'll be braving the cold with a Massachusetts playoff game. But I'll at least be able to catch the second half. Here's hoping I'm wrong and Syracuse goes Bowling. GO ORANGE!

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North Carolina Quick Predictions

Happy Homecoming everyone!
Syracuse had a set back two weeks ago in Pittsburgh, losing on an interception in OT. Now, coming off a bye week, Syracuse takes on a down UNC team in the Carrier Dome. Can they get back to their winning ways at home?
UNC is a little puzzling. They are generally a team that doesn't look very good, and hasn't really played anyone tough. Except last week, with a three point loss to Virginia Tech. They are 1-4, 1-2 and their only win is a 3 point win against Pittsburgh. But the numbers don't lie. UNC only puts up 20.6ppg, with Syracuse racking up 43. UNC allows 33.8ppg, while Syracuse only 25.2. Syracuse is just a better team on paper. Now they just have to prove it on the field. The big question is obviously the run defense after Pittsburgh. While Syracuse won't be able to fix everything, they have had a bye week to really make assessments and changes and should come out fresh and ready. And what is a big strength for Syracuse is the defensive line, which should be able to get at QB Nathan Elliott. Syracuse just has to limit the big plays and be able to make key plays in the 4th quarter when the game really matters. As for the offense, Syracuse just needs to play their game and make plays. Keep the chains moving. Keep the offense on the field or score. Syracuse has a big opportunity to get some momentum before they take on NC State. I think Syracuse is going to come out hungry, and with it being Homecoming, the Dome will be very loud. I'm taking the Orange 34 to 24.
This game is available on the ACC Network / Raycom Sports at 12:20pm. Check your local listings here. For everyone else, it is available on WatchESPN. John is in the Dome. I have a game of my own so I will be on the field and not watching. But I'll catch up with you later. Enjoy Homecoming and GO ORANGE!

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Pittsburgh Quick Predictions

Ever appropriate for throwback uniforms.
Syracuse hasn't won at Pittsburgh since 2001. I couldn't believe that stat. It seems almost impossible. These two teams always play tough and Syracuse hasn't won at Pitt in a very long time. Will the streak be broken today?
Syracuse heads to Hines Field where not even remotely near the number of fans will be there as they saw in Clemson. This is going to be a mostly empty stadium with the Panther faithful and a few SU fans. Syracuse will not be rattled on the road today. Syracuse is coming of a near miss taking down #3 Clemson. I think they don't come out disappointed with their heads down. I think they come out looking for blood. Panther blood. And despite the fact Pitt will have on great throwbacks, Syracuse will have the better team on the field. Additionally, Syracuse has the best Special Teams unit in the league. Pitt's is the worst. Pittsburgh's QB Kenny Pickett (please do, Syracuse) has been sacked  ten times this year and thrown four interceptions. Syracuse will have a real opportunity to have a FSU-like game and harass the QB with knockdowns, sacks, and hurries. That will likely cause turnovers that Syracuse can take advantage of. While Pitt will probably find success on the ground in spurts, and have a big play or two, I see Syracuse dominating like they did the second half of the FSU game, in a similar style. I think Syracuse finally breaks through and wins at Pitt on the road for the first time in a very long time, in what is essentially the turning point of the season. Syracuse needs to win these kind of games. The winable league games like this, and upcoming UNC and Louisville. Either way, I think they are on the right path and get the job done today. I'm taking the Orange 48 to 17.
This game is available on regional coverage at approximately 12:20pm. Check your local listings here. For those without the game on TV, you can watch on WatchESPN subject to blackout, or on the ACC Website or App. I'm on the road with football of my own, but John will be watching in the home office. I should be able to catch the end of the game so I look forward to hopefully celebrating with you all at approximately 4pm. GO ORANGE!

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