Thomas Shults (5-2): Florida State 31, Syracuse 17
As bad as Florida State has played this year, Syracuse has played even worse. In 3 ACC games, SU has given up 25 sacks. On top of that, starting right tackle Ryan Alexander didn’t travel to Tallahassee, and Syracuse.com reported that he has left the program. So, freshman tackle Matthew Bergeron will get his first look at an ACC edge rusher in a hostile environment. And on defense SU will have its hands full with Cam Akers, one of the best running backs in the conference. The junior has already gained 773 yards from scrimmage to go along with eight touchdowns. FSU will control the clock and stop a sputtering defense on its way to its fourth win of the season.
Harrison Singer (6-1): Florida State 31, Syracuse 20
Syracuse heads down to Tallahassee losers of two straight conference games, both within one touchdown. This week, the Orange travels to Florida State as double-digit underdogs, but the 3-4 Seminoles – just like the Orange – face a bit of unknown. Graduate transfer Alex Hornibrook will get the start over redshirt sophomore James Blackmon, who has been rather iffy to say the least (56.2 QBR ranks 77thin the nation). Hornibrok has started only one game this season when Blackmon went down with a knee injury, but the transfer answered the call. Back on that Sept. 28 game, Hornibrook handily led FSU passed NC State, 31-13, behind a 72.5 completion percentage, 316 yards and three touchdowns. That definitely might spell trouble for a Syracuse defense that ranks third-last in the ACC in pass yards allowed per game. On the flip side, the Seminoles rank dead-last in the conference in that category, which certainly bodes well for SU. However, uncertainly surrounding the Orange’s quarterback situation makes things tough to forecast for SU. Nevertheless, whether Syracuse goes with DeVito or Welch, the environment in Doak Campbell Stadium – with both teams essentially fighting to save their seasons – seems to be one that SU hasn’t proved they can succeed in thus far, this year. Also, it doesn’t help that Syracuse has never won in Tallahassee, even when FSU hasn’t been at its strongest.
Jonathon Hoppe (6-1): Syracuse 24, Florida State 38
You know, I’m actually giving Syracuse a decent chance to win this game. The only problem? We have no idea how effective SU’s quarterback play will be on Saturday. The good news for the Orange is that the Seminoles are experiencing similar problems. They don’t really have a quarterback either. For me, this game comes down to the offensive lines. FSU’s was highly criticized last year, but they’ve improve. Junior running back Cam Akers is on pace for a career season. He has more rushing yards than SU’s Moe Neal, Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard combined. That’s a tough pill to swallow. Until the Syracuse O-Line can prove they’ve made adjustments, I won’t pick the Orange to win a game for the rest of the season.
Tim Leonard (5-2): Florida St, 33 Syracuse 13
There’s just no reason to pick Syracuse today. They’re on the road. Have less talent than FSU. Have two freshman planned to start at the tackle spots and two banged up quarterbacks. On the bright side, Florida State has a lot of the same problems. Both these teams are super desperate for a win. One has proven they can at least score in ACC play though and one has the home field advantage and that’s the Seminoles.
Gill Gross (5-2) Syracuse 32, Florida State 31
Each season in the Dino Babers era has had at least one unexpected victory. I think this is it for 2019. The Orange are ten point underdogs in Tallahassee, a place they’ve never won in program history. Florida State’s 3-4 record is much more impressive than Syracuse’s 3-4, but the matchup is what does it for me. The Seminoles pass rush is nothing special. That’ll be huge reprieve for the Orange, which have faced three top 10 sacks schools in ACC play. Finally, there should be time to throw the ball around the yard. That’s what Tommy DeVito does well, assuming he’s healthy. Also expect a strong performance from the SU pass rush. FSU is 97th in QB sacked percentage. Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman are due to take over a game. And Syracuse’s rush defense has impressed, leading me to believe Cam Akers will be in check. Upset, SU.
J.D. Raucci (4-3): Florida State 31, Syracuse 24
These two teams are nearly identical. Both are 3-4 on the season. Both have horrific offensive lines (Syracuse is dead last in the country in sacks allowed at 5.0 while Florida State is only 11 spots better at 3.29). Both have quarterback questions heading into the week: will Tommy DeVito be ready to go for Syracuse? Are we going to see both James Blackman and Alex Hornibrook for FSU? In a lot of ways, this game seems like a dead heat, that is until you look at the talent on each roster. SU is made up of almost exclusively three-star or lower recruits while the Seminoles are littered with four- and five-star prospects. The ‘Noles have one of the top ten running backs in the country in Cam Akers and he’s so much more dangerous than just taking the handoff. In last week’s nail-biting loss to Wake Forest, Akers went for nearly 200 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. SU has had serious trouble with stopping opposing running backs this year and the only back the Orange have faced that is on his level is Clemson’s Travis Etienne. I think Akers has a big game for the ‘Noles and FSU’s beat-up defense does enough to keep SU out of the end zone and give Florida State its eighth straight homecoming win.
Jaron May (1-0): Florida State 28, Syracuse 20
Let’s get this out of the way – both of these teams are not good. They both have the potential to be good, but they aren’t living up to expectations. Florida State is full of 4 and 5 star players. So, they should be much better than they are. They should at least not be sitting towards the bottom of the ACC. Syracuse doesn’t have as talented of recruits, but they were supposed to be the second best team in the conference this year. This game won’t show which team is good. It’ll just show which team is not as bad. The differentiating factor will be the trenches. FSU doesn’t have the most dominant defensive line, but if they manhandle SU’s O-line, then the Seminoles will come out as victors. On the flip side, if Syracuse’s offensive line fixed their problems in practice this week and can fend off Florida State’s pressure, then the Orange will get the win. I don’t see the latter happening, so I have to go with FSU in this one.