Game By Game Predictions For Syracuse Orange 2013 Football Season
Game By Game Predictions For Syracuse Orange 2013 Football Season
The end of summer is fast approaching and the college football season is about to begin. Training camp is over and it’s officially game week. We’ve already covered who the 10 key players are going to be for the Syracuse Orange this season, and now it’s time to offer official predictions for each of the Orange’s 12 regular season games.
On paper, Syracuse will face a schedule that’s far more difficult than any schedule they’ve had over the past several seasons, which is mainly a byproduct of their move into the ACC. Of course, opening the season with a pair of Big 10 teams isn’t going to make the schedule any easier. Despite wanting to build off an impressive 8-5 record in 2012, including wins in six of their final seven games, winning six games and returning to a bowl game for the third time in four seasons would probably be considered another step in the right direction for Syracuse.
The two biggest challenges on Syracuse’s schedule will surely be the Clemson Tigers and Florida State Seminoles. Syracuse has not seen conference opponents of their caliber in quite some time, not even the West Virginia Mountaineers, who Syracuse holds a three-game winning streak against. However, many of the Orange’s new foes in the Atlantic Division, such as the Maryland Terrapins, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Boston College Eagles, and North Carolina State Wolfpack may not be inherently better than Syracuse, which should make a majority of their conference games close and competitive contests that the Orange are more than capable of winning.
Here’s a game-by-game prediction of how Syracuse will fare in 2013.
Syracuse 17, Penn State 10
Yes, Syracuse pulls the upset in week 1, although can it really be considered an upset if we know so little about each team? Regardless, after all the attention given to who the Orange quarterback was going to be and what George McDonald’s offense would look like, it’s the Syracuse defense that steals the show, blitzing an inexperienced Penn State quarterback with linebackers and defensive backs, getting a handful of sacks and forcing three turnovers. Between an aggressive defense and a 100-yard, two-touchdown game from Jerome Smith, the Orange get a huge win to start the season.
Northwestern 34, Syracuse 24
Syracuse couldn’t even beat Minnesota on the road last season, and this trip to Big 10 country doesn’t end any better. The Orange saw Kain Coulter and Venrick Mark last season, and a year later they still couldn’t do much to contain them. After getting down early, Ryan Nassib and Marcus Sales weren’t around to lead the team back like they did last season, and ultimately the Orange didn’t have the weapons in the passing game to erase a 17-point halftime deficit.
Syracuse 38, Wagner 10
The Orange start slow, as they usually do against FCS teams, in part because they are unwilling to open up the playbook against a lower level team. But they eventually get the offense going, and redshirt freshman running back George Morris breaks out for three touchdown runs. After breaking off two long runs to help break the game open in the second quarter, offensive coordinator George McDonald goes with the hot hand, which is Morris. Syracuse gets ahead and then just tries to milk the clock in the second half as they end up winning by a satisfying margin.
Syracuse 35, Tulane 13
Syracuse wasn’t exactly impressive the last time they played Tulane in 2011, but this game goes a little bit better for them. After finding their offensive rhythm the previous week against Wagner, the Syracuse offense continues to click and has no trouble taking an early lead against Tulane. Ashton Broyld becomes a primary target early in the game and becomes too much for Tulane to handle, as the Orange win convincingly, giving them a lot of confidence heading into their bye week.
Clemson 19, Syracuse 14
Syracuse isn’t quite ready to take down one of the beasts of the ACC, but they give Clemson all they can handle. The Tigers quickly learn what the West Virginia Mountaineers and Louisville Cardinals learned each of the past two seasons, which is that the Carrier Dome is not a fun place for opposing teams. Chuck Bullough’s defense bends but doesn’t break and gives Heisman contender and Johnny Unitas Award candidate Tajh Boyd fits all night long. In the end, Clemson beats Syracuse with field goals, as the Orange come up short on the final drive of the game.
North Carolina State 27, Syracuse 10
After a deflating loss against Clemson the previous week, Syracuse comes out flat in its road trip to Raleigh and suffers a disappointing loss. The Orange play as bad as they have all season, and a mentally tough defense playing with pride is the only reason why the score line is even somewhat respectable. Team morale takes a slight hit as the Orange head back to Syracuse, licking their wounds, albeit somewhat satisfied with a 3-3 record at the midway point of the season.
Syracuse 21, Georgia Tech 13
Georgia Tech’s triple option can be tough to prepare for, but Syracuse’s defense is actually built to handle it. The big bodies of Jay Bromley, John Raymon, and Eric Crume help plug the middle, which forces the Yellow Jackets outside, where the Orange’s speed at linebacker and aggressive secondary pay off big time as Georgia Tech struggles to get a consistent ground game going. Meanwhile, Syracuse beats the Yellow Jackets at their own game as the thunder and lightning combination of Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley takes over and carries the Orange to a somewhat surprising road win.
Syracuse 28, Wake Forest 17
The win in Atlanta brings a rowdy crowd to the Carrier Dome the following week, and the Orange defense takes over from there. Scott Shafer’s defense struggled with Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price in the 2011 season opener, but the Orange were adequately prepared this time around. Redshirt freshman Ron Thompson starts to emerge as a pass rusher, and all the pressure on Price forces several errant throws that the Syracuse secondary turns into interceptions. Meanwhile, the offense is more of the same, as the running game continues to carry the load and put points on the Carrier Dome scoreboard.
Syracuse 13, Maryland 7
This game is one year too late for a Doug Marrone-Randy Edsall grudge match, but Scott Shafer is there to ensure Syracuse gets some redemption on Edsall after he ran up the score on the Orange a few years ago when he was the head coach at Connecticut. Both offenses struggle, but the Orange are tougher and they grind out an ugly road win to clinch a bowl berth in the process.
Florida State 24, Syracuse 10
Riding high from clinching a bowl berth the Orange head down to Tallahassee and put up a fight against much more talented Florida State team. Syracuse feels good about going into halftime only trailing 7-3, thinking they have a shot to pull off a big upset in the second half, but the Syracuse offense just can’t get it going against Florida State’s defense, especially their big and athletic defensive line. The Orange don’t get a win, but they earn plenty of respect around their new conference after making the Seminoles work hard to get the win.
Pittsburgh 20, Syracuse 13
Tired out from four road games in the past six weeks, the Orange lose their first ACC matchup with their long time rivals from Pittsburgh. The Panthers take out their frustration over last year’s loss, as well as the fact they have to come back to the Carrier Dome for a second consecutive season, and they play more physical than the Orange. More to the point, with Syracuse already wrapping up a bowl berth, this game means more to the Panthers, who are able to slow down the Orange running game just enough to win.
Syracuse 34, Boston College 14
Disappointed after the loss to Pittsburgh, the Orange refocus to ensure a winning record for the season and avoid what would be an upset loss to the Boston College. For the second straight year, the Orange end the season against a team coached by former Syracuse assistant Steve Addazio, and for the second straight season they win going away to close out the regular season. Syracuse is better than Boston College and they ultimately cruise to victory against the Eagles, sending their seniors off in style.
Final Record 7-5
A 7-5 regular season record for the second straight year is a big win for the Orange, doing so in a tougher conference and with a difficult out-of-conference schedule, not to mention the new coaching staff and quarterback. Syracuse surprises a lot of people and earns a lot of respect in the ACC along the way, and once again represents well in a bowl game. The transition to the ACC and into the Scott Shafer era goes as smooth as possible, and the fan base is more convinced than ever that the program is moving in the right direction.