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Staff Season Predictions: Orange on the Upswing in 2014

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via syracuse.com

It’s that time of year again. SU football kicks off tomorrow night in the Dome against Villanova. The Fizz will have you covered with live tweeting every game from our twitter account, @OrangeFizz. This week, the Fizz will also be posting FizzCasts before and after the game, with a break down from our Fizz crew. But before all that, we take a look into our crystal ball and predict how the Orange will finish this season.

Brendan Glasheen: 7 – 5 (5 – 3 ACC)

Training camp has fully indicated that Syracuse should thrive much more this year on offense (especially compared to defense). Most of the offense returns, including key players such as Terrel Hunt, Prince-Tyson Gulley and Sean Hickey. The plethora of receiving talent SU has to work with is also very encouraging. This is year two for George McDonald as offensive coordinator, so the idea of running this fast-paced offense should really start to show. I think we’ll see a lot of high-scoring games to start the season. Scott Shafer is on record that the Orange is thin at defensive tackle, and most SU fans understand the inconsistencies of the secondary. However, with lots of young talent back there, expect the secondary to open some eyes and really contribute by forcing turnovers. A bit of a stretch, maybe? We’ll have to see. Syracuse reaches 7 – 5 (5 – 3 ACC) and is bowl eligible for the third straight year. Despite predicted losses to Maryland and at Pitt, I think SU beats Louisville in primetime and keeps things close with Notre Dame and Clemson.

 

Austin Pollack: 8-4 (5-3)

This year’s team has some high expectations. After finishing 6-6 and earning a Texas Bowl victory against Minnesota, it’s a new era of Syracuse football, and the bar is set higher. The non-conference schedule isn’t as demanding as last year, when the Orange played against Penn State and Northwestern to start the season. Terrel Hunt is more experienced at the quarterback position, and the entire team has had a taste of the competitiveness of the ACC. They’re more experienced and in the ACC, experience can go a long way. Pittsburgh will be an interesting game. It appears these two like playing close games, so expect that to be the case this year. The schedule isn’t too tough, with some of the more challenging games at home for Syracuse.

Wins: Villanova, Central Michigan, Maryland, Wake Forest, NC State, Duke, Pittsburgh, Boston College

Losses: Notre Dame, Louisville, Florida State, Clemson

 

Zephan Mayell: 7-5 (4-4)

With a solidified quarterback in Terrel Hunt, the Orange seems all ready to go this Friday. Although Scott Shafer is aiming for an 8-win season, 7 wins are more likely. Syracuse should pick up three quick wins to start off the season against Villanova, Central Michigan and Maryland. The Notre Dame game could be interesting because of the loss of four starters. But Notre Dame still has the manpower to take care of business at the Meadowlands. I see the Orange going through a rough patch with losses at the Dome against Louisville and Florida State. Syracuse will then beat Wake Forest, lose in Death Valley and then return home. The NC State and Duke games at home will be crucial to SU’s bowl chances ,and I see the Orange winning both games to gain eligibility. Finishing off the season, I see a loss on the road to Pittsburgh but a win in Chestnut Hill to finish 7-5 and make another bowl.

 

Seth Goldberg: 8-4 (4-4), sending the Orange to a bowl game for a potential 9th win.

The Orange is ready to take the next step and grow as a program. The biggest key offensively may not be Terrel Hunt but instead it could be George McDonald and how he grows in calling a game. If everything breaks absolutely right, the Orange should be able to stay very competitive against teams like Notre Dame and Louisville, both of which could have down years with quarterback questions. SU has two sure losses on the schedule in Clemson and Florida State, but the other 10 games all seem winnable. Duke played in the ACC Championship game last year and is a pretty good team, so that is likely a loss, but expect a close game. Games like NC State, Wake Forest and Boston College were all games the team won last year, and when you consider the team is better this year, SU should win those games again. Pitt, which is in Pittsburgh this year, may be a tough game because the Panthers always seem keep the Orange on its toes. The Orange seems to have plugged up the wholes on defense created by graduating seniors with Marquez Hodge starting the year as the middle linebacker. And the secondary actually looks much stronger than last year with Brandon Reddish, Julian Whigham and Wayne Morgan all looking to make an impact at corner and Durrell Eskridge lurking at safety.

Overall, the Orange seems like a pretty strong team that should be able to finish the season third in the division behind Florida State and Clemson for a second year.

Wins: Villanova, Central Michigan, Maryland, Notre Dame, Louisville, Wake Forest, NC State, BC

Losses: Florida State, Clemson, Duke, Pitt

 

Jason Weingold: 8-4 (5-3)

For the first time I feel really good entering this college football season.  Everything from the player development to the recruiting classes are trending upward for Syracuse.  Scott Shafer set his goal at eight wins for the season, and I’m cautiously optimistic that the team can reach this goal.  There are two losses that I’m considering “automatic” this season in Clemson and Florida State.  In addition, I think the Orange will lose two games between the Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Louisville contests. This means that they will beat Villanova, Central Michigan, Maryland, Wake Forest, NC State, Duke and Boston College.  Reaching eight wins would be huge for this Syracuse team, and while it won’t catapult Syracuse into the national spotlight, it will take the program to the next level.  The Orange hasn’t had an eight-win regular season since 2001.  While a 7-5 season is the conservative (and more probable) pick, sometimes we can dream.  The entire season is going to rest on the shoulders of Terrel Hunt and his development and the strength of the Syracuse front seven on defense.  If the team hits its stride at the right point, who knows where the Orange could end up come bowl season.

 

Connor Morrissette: 7-5 (4-4) in the ACC which will be enough to get them to the Pinstripe Bowl.

An improved Syracuse team from last season faces a tougher schedule this year but should walk away with seven wins. Terrel Hunt will cement himself as a top level ACC quarterback and the receiving corps will also impress. Defensively the secondary should also improve, but opposing teams will still have relative success in the passing game. The linebacker trio of Cam Lynch, Dyshawn Davis and Marquez Hodge will be the strength of the defense. Defensive tackle is a problem position for the Orange however. Seven wins is a solid number for this group and Scott Shafer will be happy his team will have a chance to reach his eight-win goal in a bowl game. 

Posted by: Seth Goldberg

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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