We didn’t raise our hands when Eric Dungey asked how many people picked Syracuse to win last week. The Fizz is coming off an 0-8 performance in last week’s picks against Clemson, but that certainly makes Orange fans happy. Here’s how the staff thinks the Orange will fare in this week’s matchup against the Hurricanes:
Logan Grossman (4-3): Miami 34 Syracuse 27
I have learned my lesson about picking Syracuse to get blown out by top 25 teams. After predicting them to get manhandled by both LSU and Clemson I’m going to amend my pessimism slightly. With that said, Miami is flying high right now and has their eyes set on the ACC Championship and maybe even the College Football Playoff. It is hard to see the Orange pulling off a road upset of this magnitude but it was harder to see how Syracuse could up end Clemson and they did just that. I guess that’s why the play the game.
Last week’s win over Clemson has SU fans falling over to pick the Orange over the Hurricanes this weekend, and I certainly won’t be the one to miss out on the fun. Miami is in the middle of a hard bite from the injury bug and Syracuse hasn’t been more excited to play a top 10 team on the road in years. Eric Dungey showed us last week what injuries had kept us from finding out until then: he can play with the best defenses in the ACC. Save Middle Tennessee State, all of the Orange’s losses are still good losses, so I’m happy living in the world where Syracuse is a good football team until I’m proven wrong. Orange fans deserve some optimism.
Tyler Aki (4-3): Miami 31 Syracuse 30
We’re at the point now where any outcome for Syracuse football isn’t out of the question. However, this might be an unorthodox trap game for the Orange. While trap games seem to “favor” the underdog, SU is the team that comes in with all the hype. For a young team, there is a lot of pressure to follow up one of the biggest wins in program history with another of equal magnitude. The weather is not going to be ideal for Syracuse’s strengths. It’s going to be hot, sticky and rainy with winds upwards of 20 miles per hour. The Orange’s true running game (rushes by running backs) has struggled this season. It will be tough to set up the passing game given the conditions, but Syracuse will get some short passes going to keep it in the game. This will feel like the Wake Forest game last season, not just from a weather standpoint, but one where fans will look back and say “If this game were played in the Carrier Dome instead of on the road, the Orange would have won handily.”
Drew Carter (5-2): Miami 24, Syracuse 21
Miami may not be as good its top-10 ranking suggests, but the Hurricanes’ balance is extremely impressive: the U ranks inside the national top 25 in S&P+ (an advanced metric built by a team’s every play) on both sides of the ball. The Canes’ top unit is their ground attack, led by junior running back Mark Walton, one of three ACC players averaging 100 rushing yards per game. Walton and company should exploit a Syracuse run defense that has softened a bit lately, while Miami’s front seven may live in the backfield. Still, the Hurricanes needed a miracle to escape against Georgia Tech last week after barely slipping past a depleted Florida State team in their previous outing. If Miami were coming to the Dome, I’d feel alarmingly comfortable picking an SU win. But this year’s Orange hasn’t yet reached the point where it can reasonably be expected to topple the No. 8 team in the country on the road. The Hurricanes survive.
David Edelstein (4-3): Miami 34 Syracuse 27
Thanks to Syracuse’s stunning performance last week against Clemson, no game is guaranteed one way or another. But it will still be a challenge for the Orange to pull off two upset wins in a row against top ten ranked teams. Syracuse has not historically had much success against Miami. The last time SU came out on top was in 1998. In each of the five games Syracuse and Miami have played against each other since then, the Orange has simply been demolished, twice not even scoring at all. Now, Syracuse is coming off a high, but playing No. 8 Miami on the road is tough. In last week’s upset win against Clemson, Syracuse was at home surrounded by fans in a nearly-packed Carrier Dome. Now Miami is the team with the support. Although they are 5-0, the Hurricanes have started to slip lately. They beat Florida State by just four points and then beat Georgia Tech by just one, both which were last-minute comeback thrillers. There is the potential for this one to be a close one again as the 15th ranked Syracuse offense comes in with major upside but 15th ranked Miami defense is more than prepared to slow the Orange down.
JD Raucci (5-2): Miami 34 Syracuse 27
If last week’s miraculous win over Clemson taught me anything, it’s to have complete and utter faith in Syracuse in every game moving forward. Syracuse proved it can play with any team in the country and that extends to Miami this Saturday. This game is going to be much closer than the rankings of these two teams indicate and I think SU keeps this one close for most of the game. With all that Syracuse positivity being said, the game is in South Florida at Hard Rock Stadium and I think that home field advantage is the deciding factor in this one. At the end of the day, Syracuse jumps out to an early lead like it did last week versus Clemson, but the Canes use a little bit more of that fourth quarter magic they’ve shown the last two weeks and eek out a close victory over the Orange at home.
Tim Leonard (4-3): Miami 30 Syracuse 23
Let me start out by saying the spread for this game is way too high. Miami is slightly overrated and should’ve never opened as 17 point favorites. Mark Richt’s club has gotten lucky in a lot of close games this season and they come into this match-up pretty banged up. That being said, the fact that this game is being played in South Beach changes everything. The way the SU defense has been playing, I would be surprised if the Orange got blown out down in South Florida. However, I think Miami leads this one from the opening whistle. I see this game being very similar to SU’s road losses to N.C. State and LSU earlier this season. The Orange is going to claw its way back into it late and have a chance, but in the end, the Hurricanes will squeak out another close one.
Jonathon Hoppe (1-1): Miami 35 Syracuse 24
As much as I’d love to pick Syracuse, I can’t. After watching this team struggle against Middle Tennessee State and almost lose to Pittsburgh, it’s hard for me to believe Syracuse comes close to winning consecutive games against top-10 opponents. I think this game is going to look exactly like the loses to LSU and NC State did. The score will be relatively close, but the Orange is never going to have a realistic shot to win this game. Miami has won games against good football teams. I don’t want to hear that Florida State stinks, or that the Hurricanes got lucky against Georgia Tech. At the end of the day, Miami is still undefeated. Besides, the fact that people are questioning how good Miami is only hurts Syracuse. The ‘Canes are going to come out hungry and ready to prove that they’re a top-tier ACC team and that Syracuse is just a bottom feeder. If the Orange punches back and makes it a game, it will go a long way towards making the program relevant again. If Syracuse gets demolished, a lot of the momentum it captured last week goes out the window.