Tyler Aki (5-3): Syracuse 33 Florida State 20
This is going to be a fun one for the Orange. Dino Babers has been superb off the bye week, especially in his second year as a head coach. This team has been dinged up all year with injuries, but with the expected returns of Kendall Coleman and Scoop Bradshaw, SU should look even better than it already has on that side. Florida State seems checked out at this point, and Syracuse looks the exact opposite. This is one of the most passionate SU teams that I have ever seen, and it starts with Eric Dungey. He’s going to have a field day against a reeling FSU unit.
David Edelstein (5-3): Syracuse 35-14
After seeing the Seminoles get clobbered by Boston College 35-3 last week, chances of the Seminoles beating the Orange disappeared. Sports-reference.com says Florida State has the easiest schedule of FBS teams this season, yet the Seminoles are only 2-5. This is not the Florida State football team we are used to. After the season-ending injury to Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois, Florida State simply disintegrated. But Syracuse absolutely cannot go into this game thinking it is an easy football game. We’ve seen what happened when teams cane to the Carrier Dome thinking SU was an easy victory, and it turned out to be an Orange win. Syracuse needs to go into this game ready to play and set the momentum coming off of a bye week. Even with Francois out, the Seminoles have still relied heavily on the pass to move the ball. Quarterback James Blackman has thrown for 1,149 yards this season compared to a rushing attack that features two backs for less than 1,000 yards combined. Against a surprisingly talented Syracuse defense that has exceeded expectations this year, Florida State would have to find a way to get the ball down the field with its primary pass attack if it wants success against the Orange, but thats a tough challenge. The Orange needs to play as if the season depends on this game—even against a suffering opponent—because it does. The Orange should come in and play at the level we now know it can as of late and play a solid game on the road. This will add one to the ‘W’ column—a fifth win that is one more than SU had over the past two seasons, still with three games after this one in the regular season.
All signs say Syracuse is the better team in this one. The only problem? SU hasn’t won a road game all season long. Even though Florida State has been miserable at times this year, I don’t expect that to change. Last week’s performance against Boston College was an outlier for FSU. Even though Florida State is just 2-5 on the season, four of its five losses have been by single digits. The Seminoles are experiencing an all-time low right now and it’s hard for me to see it getting much worse them. Florida State is 0-4 at home this season, but I expect the Seminoles to get their first win in their home state on Saturday. FSU has too much on the line this week for it to lose to Syracuse. It’s hard for me to see a Jimbo Fisher coached team fall to 2-6 overall and 0-5 at home this season. Besides, it’s not like Syracuse has the element of surprise on its side. The Seminoles know the Orange is capable of beating them, especially after how poorly they played last week in Chestnut Hill. This is a great opportunity for Syracuse to get its first road win of the season, but I don’t see it happening.