The upcoming month of September will be a very important one for Syracuse football. How a team stats the season determines the mood going forward for the team, the coaching staff and the fan base. The Orange’s schedule gives it an opportunity to be in a very good spot this time next month, but the question is whether or not the inexperienced defense and unreliable offense can put good games together.
September should be a 3-1 month for the Orange. Rhode Island is an easy win, and there’s no reason why Syracuse shouldn’t beat Wake Forest and Central Michigan as well. Even last year’s disappointing team was able to beat both of them. A win against LSU to end the month is a big ask, and that’s where the Orange’s first loss should come from. The Orange will be favored in its first three games, but anything can happen as Syracuse fans learned last year. Scott Shafer was supposed to go 3-0 to start the season and be undefeated going into the Notre Dame game at MetLife Stadium. Things didn’t work out that way. Hopefully, everything goes right this time around.
Aside from the record, there is still a lot to figure out with this team. For one, Terrel Hunt needs to show signs of improvement. Hunt wasn’t on the field for much of 2014, and it wasn’t always pretty when he was. Hunt needs to become a better thrower to complement his running game. If he can stay healthy and help the Orange build a passing game, the offense could improve greatly over where it was last year.
The offense will need to be better, given what the defense is supposed to look like. I won’t go into all of the positions where the Orange lost players last season, but there are new leaders in every position group on the defense. Growing pains are inevitable, and don’t be surprised if September is full of high scoring games.
For a team with as many question marks as Syracuse, 3-1 would be a great start to the season. It not only matches the win total from all of last season but sets the team up for a run at a bowl game. But with this team, you can never be sure.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson