Today we’ll continue breaking down Syracuse football’s 2020 football schedule. You can find analysis of the first half of the schedule here.
Syracuse has the misfortune of starting the second half of its season against the juggernaut that is Clemson. Hopefully this will be the last time the Orange tee off against Trevor Lawrence before he goes on to likely being the first pick in the NFL Draft. He’ll be joined by running back Travis Etienne, who spurned the NFL to return for his senior season. Outside of Tee Higgins, the Tigers return their top playmakers at wide receiver, and always have a plethora of talent from outstanding recruiting classes. Speaking of outstanding recruiting classes, the Tigers’ 2020 class is ranked as the best class in the country by 247sports. So Clemson will be just as good as year’s past, if not even better.
The Yellow Jackets have a wide open competition at quarterback, as second-year head coach Geoff Collins continues the transition away from the long-run triple option. Georgia Tech has plenty of questions at quarterback, and that could be a position battle that lasts long into the season. A year after finishing 3-9, GT will still staunchly be in the rebuilding phase.
The Demon Deacons must replace star quarterback Jamie Newman who transferred to Georgia after leading Wake Forest to an 8-5 record last season. In his career at Winston Salem, Newman threw for almost 4,000 yards and ran for almost 900. He threw and ran for a combined 45 touchdowns. While Wake Forest may be thought of as a cupcake of the ACC, head coach Dave Clawson has turned the program around. Since 2016, Wake Forest has won at least seven games every season.
Two seasons ago NC State seemed to be a program on the rise in the ACC after finishing 9-4. Then last season the Wolfpack collapsed, ending up 4-8. But one of those four wins was a 16-10 victory over Syracuse. NC State head coach Dave Doeren kept his job, but replaced both of his coordinators.
Syracuse has a quick turnaround heading into the Florida State game. After hosting NC State, SU has just five days to prepare for a Seminoles squad led by new head coach Mike Norvell. The Willie Taggart experiment failed miserably, but that didn’t stop FSU from beating Syracuse. So Florida State went and hired one of the best head coaches in the group of five. Norvell transformed Memphis into a top-25 team during his tenure.
In the season finale, Syracuse faces long-time rival Pittsburgh. This matchup has been consistently entertaining in the last few years. Last season the Panthers spoiled ‘family weekend’ in the Dome, taking down the Orange 27-20. In 2018, Pitt stopped SU from winning 11 games, taking down Syracuse in overtime 44-37. And the season before that, Dino Babers and his team took down Pittsburgh 27-24. Expect another close game to finish off the 2020 season.