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Evaluating the Back Half of SU’s Schedule

Photo Courtesy of Syracuse Athletics

Saturday’s loss marked the halfway point (more or less) of the 2020 Syracuse football season. Through six games there have been some highs, but many more lows. What looked like a promising turnaround after a win over Georgia Tech a month ago, now looks like turmoil. The Orange are on a three game losing streak since that 37-20 victory and have lost several key pieces on both sides of the ball. 

Against Clemson on Saturday though, the Orange looked like a team that still has a lot to play for. Mind you, Syracuse has been one of the biggest thorns in the side of the Tigers the last couple years in ACC play, but there were promising takeaways from the 47-21 loss. With that said, whether you’re excited about the potential of this team in the second half of the season or not, let’s take a look at who Syracuse has left on the docket and what their chances of winning are. 

Oct. 31 vs Wake Forest (3-2)  // ESPN FPI: Syracuse has a 20% chance to win

2020 season part 2 begins with the Demon Deacons on Halloween. Dave Clawson and company are certainly weary of what happened last time the Deacs paid the Carrier Dome a visit. Anyways, Wake is 3-2 and coming off an impressive win over then #19 Virginia Tech. Sam Hartman is behind center full time this year and has passed for over 1,000 yards with 3 TD’s. Wake also has dynamic playmakers at the skill positions. We’ll get more in depth on this week’s Fizz Cast Preview.  

Nov. 7 vs Boston College (4-2) // ESPN FPI: Syracuse has a 27.3% chance to win 

Second home game in a row for the Orange. Going into the season I expected BC to be in rebuilding mode under first year head coach Jeff Hafley (former Co-DC at Ohio State), but I was quite off with that prediction. The Eagles have four wins and the losses were to two ranked opponents in #12 North Carolina and #23 Virginia Tech. The silver lining here may be that Syracuse gets BC at a very good time. The week before Hafley and company visit the Salt City, they go on the road to play #1 Clemson.  

Nov. 20 @ Louisville (2-4) // ESPN FPI: Syracuse has an 11.9% chance to win

Coming out of the second bye week, SU travels to Cardinal Stadium for a second consecutive season. This one should be exciting, a rare Friday night game for the Orange. In 2019, Louisville prevailed in a shootout 56-34 effectively ending Syracuse’s chance at a bowl bid. This could be the same situation this year depending on what SU’s record is sitting at going into this game. Scott Satterfield’s squad is fresh off of a dominant 48-16 win over Florida State and gave Notre Dame everything it could handle in a 12-7 loss. This offense led by quarterback Malik Cunningham and running back Javian Hawkins could give Tony White’s defense some problems. Also note that the Cards will be coming off an idle week as well and (much like SU) struggled in the next game losing to Georgia tech 46-27 on the road. 

Nov. 28 vs NC State (4-2) // ESPN FPI: Syracuse has a 30.4% chance to win

On paper, this is Syracuse’s best chance for a second win. Another revenge game for SU, the Wolfpack pulled out a 16-10 win last year in Raleigh. The odds may have increased with the recent news that quarterback Devin Leary might miss this game due to needing surgery on his fibula. NC State isn’t as stout defensively this year either. They’ve allowed at least 20 points in every game for an average of 34.2. Now SU’s isn’t very good either at 32.5 points per game allowed so this one has the potential to be a shootout, unlike last year’s defensive struggle. Luckily for Dino Babers and company, they’ll have an extra day to prepare.

Dec. 5 @ Notre Dame (5-0) // ESPN FPI: Syracuse has a 2.7% chance to win 

The Orange and Fighting Irish last played in 2018. The same year that SU finished 10-3 and ND went on to reach the College Football Playoff. The final score was 36-3. Two years later, Notre Dame seems to be on a similar trajectory sitting at 5-0 and #4 in the AP Poll at the time of publication of this article. When the two teams meet in early December (so weird) the Irish could be playing for a CFP spot, so they won’t hold anything back. On the bright side, this likely will be the one and only game this year that Syracuse will play in front of a crowd of some capacity. A crowd full of Notre Dame students mind you, but still exciting nonetheless and I’m sure Syracuse alum Mike Tirico 88’ will be on the call. The Orange and Golden-Domers don’t play very often so have fun with this one.   

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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