Last week, Athlon predicted Syracuse would finish 5-7 in the 2017 season and sixth out of seven teams in the ACC’s Atlantic division. This week, Athlon pulled out all the stops and ranked all 130 FBS teams in order. Syracuse ended up right in the middle at No. 63, but let’s take a deeper dive into the rankings to see what SU fans can expect this year.
First off, while Syracuse is in the middle of the pack among FBS schools, it is still near the bottom of the barrel among Power 5 teams. The Orange barely made it out of the bottom 10 among teams in the biggest conferences in the country, and Syracuse will play only one Power 5 school ranked lower than it this season (Boston College). Speaking of the Orange’s schedule, it’s tough. You already knew that, though. SU will play five schools ranked in Athlon’s top 25 thanks to a non-conference game against LSU and a tough Coastal division draw with Miami. Florida State, Clemson and Louisville are all also in the top 20.
The other schools SU has an advantage over are No. 75 Middle Tennessee State (maybe that’s not as much of an easy win as we thought) and No. 106 Central Michigan. SU also plays the FCS’s Central Connecticut State in Week 1, so that makes four total games where SU is the higher ranked team.
Here’s the ammunition for optimistic Orange fans. The next two schools closest to SU, No. 52 Wake Forest and No. 31 Pitt, both come to the Carrier Dome to play this season. NC State is No. 27, but plays the Orange in between games with Florida State and Louisville. Can you find two wins in there to make it six for the Orange? Can you be confident SU will beat the four teams it is ranked higher than? There are just too many variables to say, both in and out of Syracuse. We’ll see how it all plays out in September.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson