Syracuse’s schedule for the 2019 football season was released today and there are plenty of interesting takeaways. All of the opponents and locations of the games were known prior to today, the only true “release” was the skeleton of the schedule.
Tough Opening Stretch
While the opponents aren’t particularly imposing from the jump, the challenges are. Syracuse will likely be opening the season as solid favorites by our friends in the desert for the first two weeks. However, the Orange in undergoing major changes on the offensive side of the ball, notably at quarterback and left tackle. That will be tough when you start the year with back-to-back true road games for the first time since 2010. Liberty isn’t the biggest test of the year, but Maryland provides a Power Five challenge. Sure, the Terrapins will have a new head coach. But they should still provide a reasonable challenge, especially on the backend of an Orange road trip. All of that sets up the Orange’s home and ACC opener against the defending champion Clemson Tigers. Assuming SU doesn’t trip up in the first two games, then this matchup very well could be the one that College Gameday travels to.
There’s a bit of a buffer with Western Michigan and Holy Cross at home, but then SU travels to take on NC State and hosts defending ACC Coastal Champion Pitt. That all gets followed up with Florida State, who is coming off a rough season, but could rebound with their brand and 17th ranked recruiting class. It won’t be easy for the first couple of weeks, so it is imperative that the Orange plays one game at a time and doesn’t get too high from the wins or too low from the losses.
Soft Back End
To compensate for that brutal opening stretch, Syracuse’s final four games are as generous as can be for an ACC Atlantic team. The Orange closes out with a home game against Boston College, followed by two road games against Duke and Louisville and then rounding out the season at home against Wake Forest. If you include FSU, Syracuse finishes the season against three of the five worst teams in the conference by ACC record. As long as SU holds its ground in the first half of the season, the home stretch should feature plenty of wins to heighten the Orange’s bowl tier.
Way Too Early Prediction: 9-3 (5-3)