Logan Grossman (5-4): Louisville 42 Syracuse 24
Syracuse’s defense imploded in last weeks loss to Wake Forest. John Wolford had his way with the Orange defense both in the air and on the ground. Now all the Orange have to do to stay in the bowl hunt is slow down the defending Heisman trophy winner who torched them for neary 600 total yards last season. It could be a long day for the Orange down in Kentucky. The health of Eric Dungey is also a lingering question and it’s hard to imagine that the two touchdown underdogs will be able to wrestle a win from the Cardinals.
Nathan Dickinson (5-3): Louisville 42 Syracuse 30
Syracuse would have been facing an uphill battle if it was healthy going into this game. Louisville might have the most explosive offense in the ACC with Lamar Jackson alone, and the Orange defense isn’t trending up after giving up 64 points to Wake Forest last week. The defenses will not be strong in this one, and if Eric Dungey plays he’ll still have to outplay the leading Heisman winner and ACC leader in passing and rushing to win. I don’t think it happens.
Tyler Aki (5-5): Louisville 48 Syracuse 37
I think the Orange, with or without Eric Dungey, is going to come out swinging offensively again. The running game has improved a lot over the past couple weeks and Dontae Strickland and Moe Neal have a chance to carry that momentum for the rest of the season. But Zack Mahoney hasn’t show he can get over the hump as a starter. He’s 1-7 lifetime in that role, with the only win coming against a bad Boston College team on a game-winning field goal. SU needs Dungey if it wants a chance to win, and I don’t think he’s going to be on the field this week. And oh yeah, that Lamar Jackson guy is pretty good.
Drew Carter (6-2): Louisville 48 Syracuse 31
I find it hard to believe that Eric Dungey can play Saturday — after watching him limp along the sideline in a knee brace during the Wake Forest game — and thus, I find it hard to believe that Syracuse can win Saturday. Zack Mahoney’s first-half numbers (297 total yards and three passing touchdowns) from the loss to Wake Forest are almost unbelievable, but the eye test reveals Mahoney’s true colors: he’s a very solid backup, and not a whole lot more. His chances of trading punches with Lamar Jackson — who’s somehow even better this season that he was last year, when he won the Heisman — are about as good as Paschal Chukwu’s chances to win a limbo contest. The Orange’s road woes continue this week, and SU has to hope its players are true student-athletes and post an Academic Progress Rate good enough to earn a bowl bid with five wins.
JD Raucci (6-4): Louisville 45 Syracuse 21
Lamar Jackson is the most electrifying player in all of college football and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. You know who isn’t? Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford and the Orange gave up nearly 500 yards to him last week. I don’t see things getting much better for Dino Babers’s bunch this week when it has to take a trip down to Kentucky to take on Jackson and the Cardinals. Eventually the SU defense is too beat up to be able to do much of anything against an incredibly talented Jackson. On top of that, it’s still very much up in the air as to who will start under center for the Orange, Zack Mahoney or Eric Dungey. In the end, it won’t matter, Jackson is just too darn good.
Tim Leonard (6-4): Louisville 35 Syracuse 24
This isn’t going to be the shootout or the blowout everyone is expecting. The SU defense is going to answer the call in a way and go back to playing like it had been before last week. However, if Eric Dungey and Dontae Strickland don’t go, Syracuse still won’t find enough offense to keep pace with a more talented Louisville team on the road. This game’s going to play out like the movie we’ve been watching all season. Syracuse will keep this thing close and have a slim chance late but in the end SU will fall a couple turnovers and close plays away from making a moral victory a real victory.
Jonathon Hoppe (3-2): Louisville 42 Syracuse 28
If we know anything at this point in the season, it’s that SU can’t win on the road. Don’t expect that to change in Lamar Jackson’s last home game as a Louisville Cardinal. Even if Eric Dungey plays, it’s going to be tough for the Orange to pick up its fifth win of the year. After seeing what John Wolford did to Syracuse last week, I’m a bit concerned about what Jackson is going to do to the Orange on Saturday. Things can’t get much worse than his 600 plus yard performance against SU a season ago, or can they? If Dungey can’t go for Syracuse, expect this game to get out of hand early.