After a mixed week for Team Fizz last week, there’s only one contrarian for this week’s season finale against Boston College in Chestnut Hill.
Tyler Aki (9-2): Syracuse 45, Boston College 34
Both of these teams are coming off embarrassing losses, but both are for different reasons. For Syracuse, it was the final score. For Boston College, it was the opponent (Florida State). Both of these teams are trying to take ahold of second in the ACC Atlantic. Whoever comes out at quarterback tomorrow for the Orange doesn’t make a huge difference for me. Syracuse will put up points no matter who gets the start. BC sits around the middle of the country in both points and yards allowed. We know AJ Dillon can run rampant on teams and has already done it against the Orange when they met up last year. But the defense has improved. Syracuse has also done well against one dimensional offenses by shutting down that one dimension. Where the Orange falters is when the team attacks with the other dimension. Luckily for SU, the Eagles have the fourth worst passing offense in the country. Expect the Orange to stack the box to try to contain Dillon and if so, SU should cruise to a 9-3 record.
JD Raucci (8-3): Syracuse 34, Boston College 23
After getting embarrassed by Notre Dame in perhaps its biggest game of the 21st century, Syracuse needs a bounce back this weekend to end the regular season on a high note and put itself in position to get invited to a really good bowl game. Luckily for SU, Boston College has shown cracks over the last two weeks in ugly losses to Clemson and Florida State so there’s a blueprint in place for how to beat the Eagles. Defensively, the game plan is simple: sell out to stop the run. Because BC operates out of a two tight end system, the attack revolves around running back AJ Dillon who torched SU for three touchdowns last year. If you can limit his effect like Clemson and FSU did then you’ll have a lot of success. Offensively, avoiding turnovers (whether it be Eric Dungey or Tommy DeVito at QB) is the key. The Eagles have 17 interceptions as a team this season and CB Hamp Cheevers leads the country individually with 7. The rest of the BC D isn’t as strong as it has been in years past so if SU can hang onto the ball, they’ll be in good shape. This game will be more of a grind-it-out affair than most SU games just because of BC’s style, but the Orange should be fired up and have plenty in the tank to finish with its first 9-win season since 2001.
Tim Leonard (9-2): Boston College 27, Syracuse 21
I don’t necessarily think who lines up under center for Syracuse Saturday changes much. The issue for SU will be containing AJ Dillon. They have failed to stop the run at times this season and this is going to be one of their toughest tests. Expect the Orange to hang around and play much better on offense than last week. It’s going to come down to the fourth quarter but in the end the home team will come out on top. 8-4 might not be what we started to dream about but it’s still a really solid season
Jonathon Hoppe (8-3): Syracuse 35, Boston College 24
The Orange laid an egg last week, yes, but they faced a tough Notre Dame team. This week, Syracuse battles Boston College in a game that could have major bowl implications in the ACC. There’s uncertainty at quarterback, which almost plays in SU’s favor. Now, the Eagles have to prepare for both Tommy DeVito and Eric Dungey. That should give Dino Babers an advantage early on. His team needs a bounce back after getting blown out by the Irish and I expect that to happen. That was an uncharacteristic loss for this Syracuse team. They’ll show us all why they’re a top-25 squad. The difference in this game will be the offensive line. In years past, the Orange have struggled to run the ball in November. The guys up front will be hungry for a bounce back win and propel the Orange to their ninth win of the season.
Thomas Shults (1-0): Syracuse 45, Boston College 24
After an embarrassing loss at Yankee Stadium last week, Syracuse will play with something to prove. If Eric Dungey can play, expect the senior to amass over 400 yards of total offense. In the last regular season game of his career, Dungey will have too much adrenaline to be bothered by his back injury. Throughout his career, Dungey has shown time and time again that he’s as tough as they come. Now, if Dungey can’t play, DeVito will once again fill in for the veteran. The redshirt freshman has been inconsistent this season but has shown flashes of brilliance. Instead of being thrown into the game in the middle of the first quarter like last week, he’ll have had a week to prepare. This time around, he won’t be facing a playoff contender either. Just like the rest of the team, DeVito will come out angry over last week’s outcome. Boston College is a good team, but they’re running into the Orange at a bad time.