Time for one of the time-honored traditions here on The Fizz: Preseason Staff Predictions.
- D.A.: (6-6, 4-4 ACC) Loss in the Military Bowl to… whoever else plays in the Military Bowl.
Once upon a time (not so long ago) I didn’t have much faith in Ryan Nassib putting it all together. It seemed like Doug Marrone was placing the foundation blocks in place, and that true success (8 or 9 wins, competing for a conference title) was just around the corner, but there continued to be frustrating, aggravating, kick-the-wall losses. Then the dust settled after the Pinstripe Bowl, and Marrone had won eight games for the second time in three years, and Nassib had become the all-time leading passer in program history… and you realize, things were pretty good. What I’m trying to say is I can be a bit of a pessimist (how many Orange fans aren’t?) and this year feels like an uphill climb. But we just may turn around in December and Drew Allen was a solid starting QB, and the Orange won 7 games en route to a bowl win, and Scott Shafer pressed all the right buttons.
- Kevin Fitzgerald: 6-6 (3-5 ACC)
No Syracuse fan knows what they’re getting from the quarterback position until they see either Drew Allen or Terrel Hunt in a real game situation. And that can certainly cause any season outlook to fluctuate. Bowl eligibility in December may rely on the Orange stealing a game against Penn State or Northwestern in September. The defense must stay healthy throughout the year, and the Cuse could be heading back to a second bowl game for the first time since 1999. Six wins is the goal for SU. This must be the realistic expectation in year one of the ACC with a brand new quarterback. Allen will win the starting job this season, and mixed with a strong backfield, will help guide the Orange to a .500 season. Syracuse can notch three conference wins, but four is certainly not out of the cards.
- Austin Pollack: 7-5 (5-3 ACC)
- Zephan Mayell: 7-5 (4-4 ACC)
The Orange will have a repeat of last season earning a 7-5 record as the team adjusts to tougher conference opponents. The season’s success will be dependent on the receivers. With Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales gone, Syracuse will need players like Adrian Flemming, Jeremiah Kobena, and Christopher Clark to step up as big receiving threats. Look out for Beckett Wales to be the go-to option early for whichever QB takes the field. With a new head coach and a new conference, SU will face its fair share of growing pains but has enough talent to be bowling in December.
- Seth Goldberg: 8-4 (5-3 ACC)
I could see the Orange winning anywhere from 6-8 games. The Orange really need to go 3-1 in non-conference and at the very least 2-2. After splitting against Penn State and Northwestern, the Orange should get two wins against Wagner and Tulane, if not there are some serious questions. A DI-AA team and a 2-10 team? Those are gimmes. Sorry, but Clemson is not Louisville last year or West Virginia the year before. The Tigers are much better than those teams and the Orange will not have the upset win it had the past two years provided Clemson is healthy when they come to the Dome. Same deal with Florida State. Even without Doug Marrone’s new favorite QB E.J. Manuel, the Seminoles will be a good team that the Orange will not be able to beat on the road. Aside from those contests the Orange could actually win any of the remaining games. But that would put them at 9-3, which seems a little outrageous, so I’ll say the Orange lose to NC State (or a game they should win, like Wake Forrest at home) and finish with 8 wins and a chance to improve on last year’s win total by playing in a bowl game, most likely the Pinstripe Bowl… again.