Athlon Sports released their early bowl predictions for the upcoming college football season and they have Syracuse facing off with familiar foe Northwestern in the Detroit Bowl. The name will change once a sponsorship agreement is reached.
Played on Dec. 30, the inaugural game will take place at Ford Field, the home of the Detroit Lions. The matchup is between an ACC team and a Big 10 team.
However, the team selected from the ACC is projected to finish between 7th and 9th in the conference. Last season, the Orange finished tied for 7th in the conference at 7-6 (4-4), ahead of only Maryland, Wake Forest, NC State, Pittsburgh and Virginia. While the Orange certainly lost some talent on both sides of the ball, the team as a whole should be vastly improved. The offense will have a full training camp to work with Terrel Hunt—last year, Drew Allen started at quarterback before Hunt took over, which saddled the Orange with some early losses.
Furthermore, the secondary has another year to improve, as well as strong offensiveand defensive lines. While their running game will take a hit with the departure of Jerome Smith, the young guns are ready to take over and carry the load behind lead back Prince Tyson-Gulley. The wide receivers will also have another year to improve, because honestly, nothing could be worse than last year’s performance.
But the Orange has one big thing going against it this year: Coach Shafer scheduled a very difficult campaign for 2014, which is going to make wins hard to come by. The Orange will play a pair of tough competitors out of conference in Maryland and Notre Dame, and will have to play Florida State, Clemson and Duke later on. Syracuse should be able to pull out wins against Villanova, Central Michigan, Maryland, Louisville, Wake Forest, NC State, and Boston College. The Pittsburgh and Duke games are definitely winnable, as well. Assuming the Orange lose to Notre Dame, Florida State and Clemson, a 9-3 season is a stretch, but certainly possible, while an 8-4 or 7-5 season is definitely more likely.
Having at least seven wins will guarantee the Orange a bowl—and one likely ranked higher than the Detroit Bowl. The Belk Bowl, the Sun Bowl and the Pinstripe Bowl are reserved for the teams that finish between 3rd and 6th in the ACC and are very attainable.
Or, if Athlon Sports is correct, the Orange will have a chance for revenge against Northwestern, which has beaten Syracuse in back-to-back seasons. Fizz readers, what do you think? Is a 9-3 season realistically possible for the Orange? Or does the Detroit Bowl seem like a very realistic expectation?
Posted by: Jason Weingold