Logan Grossman: Syracuse 34 Middle Tennessee State 21
The Orange simply cannot afford to lose this game, especially given the schedule that lies ahead, beginning in two weeks with a trip to Death Valley. MTSU is similar to Syracuse in that its defense is its clear weakness. The difference is Syracuse is a weak Power Five defense and MTSU is a weak Conference USA defense. Expect the game to be a bit closer than some think but ultimately a relatively comfortable win for the Orange.
Nate Dickinson: Syracuse 42 Middle Tennessee State 21
I’m confident Syracuse wins this game handily in spite of all the hype surrounding MTSU’s offense. Brent Stockstill leads the Blue Raider offense well and will put up points, but there’s no way it’s enough to upset the Orange. Scott Shafer will get a warm welcome back to the Carrier Dome, but not a lot of stops from his defense.
Tyler Aki: Syracuse 48 Middle Tennessee 27
Retroactive to last season, Syracuse has scored 111 points in its last two games while using three quarterbacks. It’s safe to say Dino Babers’ offense has found its groove. While everyone wants to hype up the return of Scott Shafer as the Blue Raider defensive coordinator, who recruited the vast majority of the offensive skill players, you have to keep in mind one thing: Shafer recruited this guys for HIS system. Babers’ and Shafer’s offensive schemes could not be more night and day. Dino’s offense will show its effectiveness, and there’s little Shafer can do to stop it.
Drew Carter: Syracuse 38 Middle Tennessee 21
Expect the Syracuse offense to come out firing on all cylinders Saturday, as Dino Babers demonstrates to everyone in the Carrier Dome why he — not Scott Shafer — is the man patrolling the home sideline. The Orange piles up four touchdowns (plus a Cole Murphy 30-yard chip shot that banks in off the post) in the first half before taking its foot off the gas and allowing Middle Tennessee’s dynamic passing game to trim the SU lead. Those garbage time scores serve no purpose other than make the score look less lopsided, though, and the ‘Cuse cruises to 2-0 in Year 2 under Babers.
David Edelstein: Syracuse 38 Middle Tennessee State 21
Syracuse’s offense is strong and Middle Tennessee State is good, but not ACC caliber. The Blue Raiders will score more than CCSU did. SU’s passing game is strong, while MTSU relies on the running game to move the chains. With that combo head to head, the Orange will score two touchdowns more (and faster), plus a field goal.
JD Raucci: Syracuse 45 Middle Tennessee State 30
There’s no denying that this game will be a shootout. Two high-powered, up-tempo, sling-it-all-over-the-field offenses going at will make this game incredibly fun to watch. While the possibility of Antwan Cordy not playing is still daunting, I think the defense can hold up long enough to hold off the talented duo of Brent Stockstill and Richie James for MTSU. Look for Jordan Martin to be the key player on the SU defense if Cordy can’t play. On the other side of the ball, watch for Eric Dungey to have another monster day against a defense that allowed 367 yards to a Vanderbilt team that simply doesn’t have the weapons that the Orange possesses.
Tim Leonard: Syracuse 49 Middle Tennessee State 38
If you like defense this probably won’t be the game for you. MTSU and SU both ranked outside the top 100 in points allowed per game last year. That being said, both of these teams can fill it up. Led by a potential NFL quarterback in Brent Stockstill, the Blue Raiders were 12th in the country in points scored per game last year. Expect both teams to score early and often in what should be a surprisingly fun game to watch. However, I see Dino Babers getting the last laugh and his offense wearing down Shafer’s D in the fourth.