One of the biggest games in Syracuse football history is finally here. After a toss-up in week two, the Fizz predicts the big game.
Jonathon Hoppe (1-1): Clemson 48, Syracuse 27
One of the biggest weekends in the history of Syracuse University is here. Unfortunately, the Orange are a .500 team after a performance I didn’t see coming in College Park. Syracuse should be fired up after such a sloppy performance. That’s not the team that we know and it certainly wasn’t a team capable of competing with the defending national champions. Given the history of this series, expect Dino Babers to have his guys ready to roll. The combination of a bounce-back effort and a sold out Dome will lead to a decently tight first half. My guess is this isn’t much of a game in the final two quarters. A win against the Tigers would be shocking. What would be even more shocking is if someone in this thread picks the Orange.
Tim Leonard (2-0): Clemson 34, Syracuse 27
This is a much closer game than many are anticipating for two reasons. First, it’s the dome. A sellout in that place gives Syracuse at least 7-10 points Saturday night. But, more importantly, this team has character. Last week was a wake up. They were punched to the ground and they won’t stay down. Syracuse, especially their defense, will display its character and fight back. Not to mention, while Travis Etienne is really scary, this Clemson offense hasn’t been firing on all cylinders so far this season. It all depends on how the Orange start the game. Whether Tommy DeVito looks like the guy against UNC & Florida State or the guy against Liberty. At the end of the day, Clemson has too many four and five stars, but Syracuse will hold their own.
J.D. Raucci (1-1): Clemson 31, Syracuse 17
Simply put, Clemson is the best team in the country. They have two, maybe three Heisman-caliber players on offense in QB Trevor Lawrence, RB Travis Etienne and WR Justyn Ross and are once again loaded on defense despite losing four defensive linemen to the NFL Draft. Any way you slice it, this is going to be an uphill battle for the Orange and Vegas agrees, listing the Orange as a near four-touchdown underdog. I don’t think it’ll that bad for the Orange, but a two-score win for the Tigers seems about right. Offensively, Tommy DeVito and company haven’t looked great through the first two weeks and Clemson’s defense is far and away better than Liberty’s or Maryland’s. Defensively, SU got torched last week against a Terps team admittedly filled with weapons, but again, the Tigers have more and can throw so many different looks at you. The sellout crowd in the Dome will help a bit in the early going, but at the end of the day, Clemson is just too talented to lose this game.
Harrison Singer (2-0): Clemson 38, Syracuse 21
There’s no doubt Clemson week is always an exciting one for Syracuse, especially when the game is being played at the Loud House. The Orange has given the Tigers a run for their money the last two times these sides have met, and we all certainly remember what happened last time SU was the home team. However, I’m sorry Orange fans, but don’t get your hopes up this time around. Last week’s monstrosity at Maryland might have been a wake-up call, and it’s hard to see Syracuse flopping like that again this week in front of its home crowd. Regardless, Clemson is simply too strong up front on both sides of the ball – even if Syracuse can find a way to hold Trevor Lawrence in check, the Tigers’ offensive line has just flat bullied people thus far this season. Guys like Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman will have their work cut out for them on Saturday, and I expect running back Travis Etienne to pick up any slack Trevor Lawrence might leave behind. Offensively for Syracuse, it’s incredibly difficult to envision a struggling, inexperienced quarterback like Tommy DeVito finally turning things around against an opponent of Clemson’s magnitude. Syracuse should cover the rather lopsided spread, but still seems destined to lose by multiple possessions.
Thomas Shults (1-1): Clemson 45, Syracuse 17
After a horrendous showing down in College Park a week ago Syracuse returns to a sold-out Dome… and proceeds to lose in blowout fashion. Sure the past two seasons SU has given Clemson fits. But in both those games, the Tigers quarterback left with an injury. That won’t happen this time around with Trevor Lawrence standing tall behind an experienced offensive line. Speaking of Lawrence, he’s the Heisman leader even though he’s started the season a little shaky. So far he’s thrown three interceptions and two touchdowns. I’d be shocked if that trend continued far into the season, he has too many weapons – like 6-foot-4 Tee Higgins and 6-foot-4 Justyn Ross – to continue to stumble. Oh and don’t forget Clemson’s other Heisman hopeful – running back Travis Etienne. He has rumbled to over 250 yards and three scores so far. And for a team that just gave up over 350 yards on the ground to Maryland, Etienne is the last guy SU wants to see.
Gill Gross (2-0): 38-21 Clemson
I’m not that worried about possibly the best quarterback prospect in the last decade of College Football. And that, my friends, is the problem. Even in a scenario where SU’s edge rushers and secondary play out of their mind against an elite passing game led by Trevor Lawrence, Clemson’s Travis Etienne will still eat Oranges for dinner on Saturday. On the offensive end, Tommy DeVito will have great moments supplemented by awful moments, and that’s probably not good enough. I have to give Dino Babers credit. His teams show up in big games. Expect Syracuse to give a sold-out crowd some moments. But SU will be thoroughly outmatched by the latter stages of the game.