Peering into the Syracuse Crystal Ball: The Fizz’s Preseason Staff Predictions

Here’s how the staff thinks Syracuse football will fare this season.

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.

Wins: Penn State, Wagner, Tulane, NC State, Wake Forest, Boston College
Losses: Northwestern, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Florida State, Pittsburgh
  • Austin Pollack: 7-5 (5-3 ACC)
Syracuse has three tough games on its schedule. Losses are likely against Penn State, Northwestern, and Clemson. In the last two seasons, the Orange has had a surprise upset in the Dome against West Virginia (2011) and Louisville (2012). With a new quarterback this year and a first-year head coach, those upsets are hard to come by. With its non-conference schedule the first two games are tough because one is at a neutral site and the other is on the road. When Wagner and Tulane visit the Dome, those should be two for sure wins for Syracuse. The Orange will have wins against Wagner, Tulane, NC State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh and Boston College.
  • 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.

32 Comments on this Post

  1. Ron and Russ see only Seth is near your camp. Many others see 6-6 or maybe 7-5. No 9/10 wins there!! We would love a 8/9/10 win year. But it ain’t going to happen with this talent and a staff learning the ropes-unfortunately!!

  2. I beleive guys that your way off on your predictions for the orangemen.

    First let me say that,I believe the key to a very sucessful season is they need to stay healthy and they need to cut down on the stupid mistakes. Your all giving the Orangemen a “C” because of having a new head coach and an unknown/proven entity at QB.

    Well Texas Tech had the same situation in their game against SMU on Friday night. A walk on QB led them to their first win of the season.

    Syracuse is going to do fine this year. It will depend on how well they do against the Penn St game. If they win it,then people need to be very careful and get real prepared before they play the Orangemen this year.

  3. Terry let the fun and the games begin. I guess we’ll have to wait for the end of the season before we talk about 2013 end results.

    Enjoy the game. Terry,just to let you know,I’m not backing away from my earlier prediction of a 9-3 season.

  4. @Terry;

    I know your going to stick by your guns with a 6-6 record and will let us all know just how wrong we all were if this does come true. I think we all learned that lesson from you last season as you kept on telling us all that Price Tyson Gulley was gong to break our hearts and lose a major game and was going to let the fans down at some point during the season.

    Didn’t you predict that for the Louisville and WVA Games? Or was it for the whole season? In the end it didn’t matter because it NEVER HAPPENED!!!!!!!!

  5. What we have before us is a big mystery. New coaching….. new quarterback. Who cares!

    The game is the same and if each player takes care of their job this team will be just fine.

    I can see them with nine wins as easy as seeing them with six…… But I have faith in the coaches to motivate the talent we have and I predict we go bowling in the end. Bring on 8-4 and even 9-3 if we get lucky.

  6. I think there picks are all reasonable….no ones going out on a limb!!I stick with my 7-5 prediction as the QB and new coaching staff seeks a team identity/personality…hardnosed?Weren’t we always?thats a given but the play calling will be interesting!Im so nervous I don’t know what to do!Man,it seems the season came and goes so fast!Have fun Ron,Terry and all the guys(Smitty Section)!!

  7. I haven’t seen good guy Derek lately?You still with us?

  8. Carlton

    No1 talking about the game?!? Not on here in FL. Got an but got it on my Xbox.

  9. Ron,Terry,Malone and guys(CuseDonLuse)its 6PM and Im watching very nervously on TV!!So far were looking OK and its going like I expected…13/10 and Im liking a lot of what Im seeing!I hope you guys are having a blast and we can hold our heads up and look forward to a very good season after this game win or lose…were already winners as far as I can see!!”Go Cuse” SU20 PSU16 my prediction!!

  10. Dr. bill

    First game is over…..Allen did not look like a game changing QB to me. The offense looked really bad. the up tempo offense looked bad. It looked like the offense in Marrone’s first year….too many bubble screens and passes behind the line of scrimmage.
    The offensive line looked bad, the pass patterns looked awefull. The defense played Ok…but Penn State is not that good. If Allen is our best QB…..we have no Qb’s on the roster…end of story.

  11. Hey guy’s,I’m disappointed in the results of the game today. If that’s our uptempo style offense,then we’re in trouble,and I might have to eat some crow and tell Terry at the same time that he was right on his prediction. That’s going to hurt more than watching Syracuse give the damn game away to Penn St.

  12. Thought the kids did a good job…not enough to win but lots of good things to build on.
    Thought the coaches did a poor job. The play calling in the last two drives was bad..never gave them a chance. Like the speed up but it only works if the kids can execute it. Allen looked rushed and out of sync when they pressed the speed.
    Never established the run. Lokked good on Speacial Teams with the exception of the missed kick.
    We all need to remember this is not a strong PSU team…but not bad either.
    Grade– defense B+
    Offense C+
    Coaching C-

  13. The game sorta went like I thought it would with inexperience at QB and still needing Off cohesion to develop except I thought we would win esp with Hack being so new to BCS FB but the D looked OK and its only Week 1 against a good opponent but still Im a bit depressed for tonight and will return tommorow!…Ron,I know your not home from the game already?Bring your laptop?

  14. @Russell Stugots;

    Russell,we stayed home and didn’t make the trip to the game. MY son was in from Michigan,too many birthdays to celebrate today so we had my entire family together for the celebration at my younger sons house. Had a great meal and all had a great time.

    Russell,If I remember right,you won some money on this game? If it’s true congratulations.

    You know that Terry is going to give us a “I TOLD YOU SO” about the game.

  15. Hello there hey Ron, Russ, Cuse 17,Dr Bill, Carlton and others out there just hoping for an SU great experience today. Well there goes the National Championship game for the CUSE>>>>>>>>>>>>>!!!

  16. BigDipIzPizzd

    Terrell Hunt was 80% in the Spring game…….. F*ck Oklahoma and Allen(40%?) !!! Shafer pissed on New York with his first big decision?

    @terry…suck me ya rat bastard

  17. What a disappointment. I didn’t like the play calling one bit. Trying to run up the middle didn’t work. Our line just couldn’t move anybody. Our receivers looked lost. Threw to the TE just once that I saw. I just don’t get it.

    Everybody knew that we had 2 good RB. If our line can’t move people than we are going to have a long season. Our receivers just weren’t there. I guess that’s why we had to stick with the run.

    On the defensive side ok but not good. I thought that thier would have been more rotation on the defense to keep them fresh. I didn’t see that. The line looked tired in the game. I felt that the pressure was there. We won the TO battle but still loose. If Brandon Reddish doesn’t get tackled by a o-lineman it could have been different. The only other thing that killed me was. A player for PS sits the whole first half. Comes out in the second half and kills us.

    We still have alot of work to do. I know this. It’s the first game of the season. I get it. I said that we couldn’t come out stuggle and we did. None of you though can’t tell me that you weren’t frustrated by what you saw today. I still believe that this team will have a good season. I just hope that our WR get better to open it up for our running game. If we truely depend on the run I have a hard time seeing many wins. Have a good one guys

  18. @ big dip

    You had to see that coming. Drew Allen wasn’t going to sit. I will say that I wish at some point that the coach would have played hunt. Just to see if their could have been better flow. I will say that I do back the decision of allen. The spring game to me means nothing. A true game is way different than a spring game. That is your view and I respect that. But if hunt did start and played the way allen did today. Than the view would be to have benched hunt for allen and play him. It’s a no win situation with this. The only other thing I can say is. If allen struggles with NW and has a bad game their. Then I hope that the coaching staff puts hunt in for the wagner and tulane games to get some kind of experience. That way come the clemson game we have 2 qbs with playing time. Have a good one boss

  19. Hey dipster your lights went out in your grandma’s basement again!! Your tears are showing!!

    Been to the sports bar across from the hotel. Ran out of Coconut Run but they sent for some more. We are going back now. Paid for big time dinner(8 adults and 6 kids) because of the embarrassing lost today. OUCH!!

    To pissed now to say what I want and it ain’t good. Many SU fans/alums around me and really they were pissed as much as I am. I’ll say my peace tomorrow,but one thing bothers me the most and it hurts the most. HCSS was not honest with us and he doesn’t have to be, but if that bum dougie was still here he’d say this team is not ready at all. I’m not swearing when I say this, but I felt the smell and feeling of GROB again today. This team is way behind any dougie team had and that hurts to say that. See ya tomorrow. Going to watch the NW/CAL game and drown my sorrows over this real disappointment!!

    I bet ya can’t wait for words of wisdom. Or ya never want to hear them anyway.

  20. Okokok LETS MOVE ON lol. So how good is Northwestern guys for some reason I just think there e same old Northwestern!

  21. Come on guys… It was a good effort. The kids didn’t quit. There were some very good individual efforts.
    Coaching sucked…..Bad play calling.. Espeacially in the two last drives..if you call three and out and a interception drives. Bad ending and the Coaching staff looked confused.
    Thought Allen made a couple of real nice throws. Itwasn’t sloppy football. We lost to a better team!
    Northwestern is better yet. You better be ready for 0-2 and at best a 6 win season.

  22. @Terry;

    At times you have to wonder where people got their smarts from,ya know. The response from”BigDipIzPizzd” is totally uncalled for.

    What I said from the beginning was,I hoped that Syracuse would cut down on making stupid mistakes in a game,they haven’t yet accomplished that. After Fanfest I said the thing I saw was the bubble passes and the short screen passes,they didn’t work at all on Saturday. After last season everyone in the country knew who Jerome Smith and Prince Tyson Gulley were,it seems to me that Syracuse has to change the offense a little because neither of them is going to have the season that they had last year. Stupid,stupid,stupid mistakes killed us yesterday. We get an interception,return it to Penn ST 33 yd line and come away with 0 points. Keon Lynn gets called for pass interference when we have Penn St stopped deep in their own territory. STUPID,STUPID,STUPID mistakes.

    When Allen couldn’t move the team in the right direction,I thought Shafer would switch the QB’s and put Hunt in,in the second half,that didn’t happen either.

    Coach McDonald told us all the he was going to install an uptempo offense. The offense we saw yesterday is what got Coach Pasqualoni fired. If there was a change made in the offense,I sure as hell didn’t see it.

    Those are a few of the things that I noticed(in my opinion)that cost us the game. I’m a little down today,but the thing that I do know is that Shafer and crew is going to make this team better and I’m not going to give up on them.

    One bright spot during the game,I thought George Morris II played pretty damn good and come to the conclusion that he’s the future of the Syracuse running attack. I didn’t stay up and watch the Clemson game or the Northwestern game. I’m hoping that we get things straightened out before the Tigers come a knocking though.

  23. Compared to last years opener with Northwestern…this was error free football.
    There just not that good. The Coaching staff looked like deer in headlights. You guys give McDonald a pass…his play calling was terrible.
    Robinson looked like a man playing with kids. We’re undersized. They have some kids leftover from before their trouble that can play. Poor Allen was getting runover like he was getting hit by trucks. We’re was the protection. Free shots at him. Not even touched.
    McDonald has some answering to do!
    We didn’t get embarrassed on National TV.
    I think we got off pretty lucky. No serious injuries.
    This Coaching Staff better take a good look at it’s game time performance and give these kids better. The kids played hard and didn’t quit.
    We’re just not that good! You don’t have bad recruiting class after recruiting class and turn into a good football team.
    Ron’s right….we don’t need that stuff from Dip whatever!

  24. The thought that came across this morning on Allen was,I kinda thought he believed he was still is Norman Oklahoma playing for the Sooners. As we all know their offense is a run oriented first offense.

    Our OL is young,very young,and I know at some point this season their going to come together and be a force that’s going to be reckoned with and things will change. It’s those stupid mistakes that bothers me the most. Our defense played poorly,they need to use their speed and strenght and get better.

    I just don’t understand with the game on the line,down 6 points,setting on Penn St’s 34 yard line needing a first down with 4th & 4 and 2 minutes left in the game. Why didn’t we try/go for a 1st down? If we didn’t make it,we turn the ball over to Penn St. Isn’t that what we did anyways by punting the ball to them? If we make the first down,we have a shot at winning the game as time expired. Why didn’t we go for it?

    The press told us all year long that McDonald was a football genius. I became a little skeptical after reading an article telling us that he visited 2 NFL camps to see how their offenses worked. I really thought that when you tell me an uptempo game your going to use 4&5 WR sets.

  25. With a black cup of coffee by my side and a ice pack on my head from the hang over from last nights party with the PSU in-laws!! And yes I bought the whole dinner!! Hey even they are not happy at all with their teams play. They thought PSU is very beatable. But to them they see this FR QB starting is a no brainer for their cause in the future. I don’t blame them at all. Hell he played alot better than SU’s 5-yr senior!!

    OK!! I’m pissed mainly because this team is no where near what we thought it should have been. No wonder the practices were closed. The staff knew they have no answer for staring QB!! Allen make Paulus look like ELI Manning!! The OL looked uninterested. To many missed blocks, even from our seats we saw that. The RB’s must of read their press clippings Smith’s turnover and after that when he ran the ball was still waving around like a kite. PTG dropped a very important pass(no excuse for that) and almost ran into a 10 yd loss-Sorry Ron!! The D had their issues to. Where in the hell was the DL=no where I see. The DB were beaten by stupid mental not phsyical plays. Hell “RON or RUSS” could of caught that mistake of a pass to Welch from PSU FR QB!! But a HUGE BUT for the LB’s. From our seat(even the In-laws saw that) they played their hearts/bodies for the CUSE!! They were throwing their bodies around like a hurricane. Just love those guys. But the team still did not respond to them. The ST’s stunk to. Badly missed fg and a muffed punt to. Bad KO’s too!!

    SO!!!! With NW up next you really think 9/10 win season is expected. NW dumped 44 on CAL(I think much better than PSU, Cal has tons of speed that I saw). SU’s NR/2 star talent showed in this game against a weakened PSU team. One of the best College Div 1 coaches is up next against HCSS and staff. Do you really think SU has a chance if they played NW like SU played PSU!! NO WAY!!

    Jones(PSU DL) I think from Rochester(Ron/Russ not a two star talent) had one hell of a game. Far better than any SU DL play(alot of 2-star’s)!! Talent does win games!! But now a swear word. Please hand me the soap after this statement. This game and team play smells like a GROB team to me. SORRY!! Ya got any aspirin handy. Mom says I deserve it!! LOL!! Other than the embarrassing account of a game in Giant Stadium it was one hell of a good time, but expensive to!! It wouldn’t hurt as much if SU played better or won!! Just tired of the losing!!

  26. Im still a little depressed and will be till we put up a W and it’s not gonna be as easy as I thought?I thought we were a little further along?But remember PSU’s roster (though depleted)is full of 4 and 5* guys!I thought I seen a Tulane score that shocked me?Anyone else notice?Im pretty sure 1 of Joe Montana’s kids is their QB and that might explain it?Outside of Wagner maybe no cupcakes this year!I’m gonna keep the faith though and still think we get 7 W’s this season b4 a bowl(Probably Pinstripe)which may be a bonus this year cause I suspect RU will be the other PS bowl opponent and beating them would cure a lot of ill’s with most of the fanbase!….crummy opening weekend huh Ron,Terry,Smitty,Carlton,Dip and guys?btw Dip…Terry didn’t deserve that but I love ya anyway!

  27. @Terry;

    I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the family outing.

    Now for all of your jabs,I didn’t espect any less from you,. All I thought about yesterday after the game, was hearing from you today and I knew I was going to pay the price. You earned it,and thanks for not really rubbing it in on the rest of us.

    I do agree the offensive looked sluggish to me and it looked like they didn’t want to be there. When you talk about players like,Jones(PSU DL) I think from Rochester, all I can say is our past is raising it’s ugly head and biting us in the a$$ now thanks to GROB,Marrone and Pasqualoni ignoring the instate talent over the past few years.

    But this is Shafer’s first year,like I said to everyone about Marrone getting 5 years with dividends paying out in his sizth season,lets give Shafer the same support and give him 5 years to improve the program that he inherited

    Thanks again Terry for the comments. I really did expect a lot more from you than what you gave us.

    Have a great day and just a reminder,I’m sticking with my prediction.

  28. Terry,I know what you mean about the money!!I’d gladly spend money knowing we could carry a win/confidence not to mention bragging rights into the next game!!Man feeding what?14 people in a NJ/NY restaurant…ouch!You earned the right to rant this week but you have to give Dip a pass (today) as were all feeling down!

  29. Its funny seeing its already Sept on the posts and week 1 is already in the books!

  30. I saw some of the game mainly was watching the ND game but from what I saw the Qb an WR’s looked horrible out of sync. Don’t understand how that happens after an entire offseason. The play calling was conservative to say the very least. I thought the D played well but they only got pressure by bring extra ppl every time. That’s ok vs an inexperienced QB but other teams /w few more athletes will be able to take the top off this D. SU will be lucky to see the post season this yr.


    No idea what your talking about. I don’t even remember giving a win loss total. If I had probably been 7-6 or 8-5 now I’m thinking 4 or 5 wins. It’s going to be a long yr. When is basketball season starting? LoL.

  31. OK guys, tough loss that much is true. Opportunity to win despite all the problems and I can’t see the doom and gloom on one condition of course. We have to get the O and in particular the line play up to snuff. The line looked out hustled. They were unable to open any holes in the middle. That brings me to my next point. This is the style of D we will see all year. We are run strong, so every team is going to scheme to stop the run. I saw success when we bounced outside, but I didn’t see that called often. I thought the play calling apart from being conservative was lacking in adjustments or strategy. It was clear early that they were bottling the middle. O’Brien is a Belicheck guy. His philosophy is to take away a teams strength and make them beat you with its weakness. It was evident that was what was happening early and considering they had no idea who our QB was, what else did they have to plan against anyway. I get baiting, or keeping them honest with inside runs, but the alternate is true too. outside runs and bubble screens will spread the D out, and soften the middle. Even though some were dangerous passes, the short outside stuff was where we had most success. Go with it till they adjust and then hit em with your bread and butter. the play calling lacked that, or waited too long to make adjustments. At the end, I don’t know why you try a 20 yd sideline pass, especially when there was enough time and Allen was so bad with those throws all game. I think Allen may have a weakness swiveling, especially to his right. Maybe he doesn’t set his feet well when turning in the pocket. I just don’t see using the vertical threat QB that sees over the line well only to pass sideline or laterally. Also, the screen recievers need to do a better job catching, even if the throws are not quite what they should be. I saw a lot of drops on screens from a lot of guys. That said, it could have been much worse and MetLife did its job by allowing a lot of recruits to get to see a game environment. It might not have been the win we wanted, but it was a tight game and the D looked good. At least towards the end Bullough was a lot less tentative than McDonald.

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