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Wake Forest vs. Syracuse: Crystal Ball Predictions

Brad (6-0): Wake Forest 35, Syracuse 24

I can see why some Syracuse fans want to pick the Orange to win this game. After last week’s showing against Clemson, I would be lying if I told you I didn’t hesitate in making this pick. But I’m undefeated in my selections this year. There’s no way I’m risking the clean slate on anything but logic. Even though the run defense took a step up last week, it is still the achilleas heal of this team. The Demon Deacons feature two backs that could trample through the weak front six, and even explode past the young guns in the secondary for big plays. Meanwhile, SU continues to struggle to move the ball when they need to the most. 

Ian (5-1): Wake Forest 31, Syracuse 21

Syracuse comes down to earth after playing its best game of the season in Death Valley. Without Sean Tucker, the SU offense is one-dimensional. The intermediate passing game might work early, but it won’t have the longevity to last the Orange four quarters (and OC Sterlin Gilbert calls deep routes on third-and-short because that’s how it goes). Once third down rolls around, the terror that is Carlos “Boogie” Basham haunts the SU offensive line. The Syracuse defense forces three turnovers, two that lead to scores, but the Demon Deacs backfield tandem of Kenneth Walker and Clyde Beal-Smith wears down the Orange front six. Wake pulls away in the fourth, but can’t treat bettors to a cover. Happy Halloween!

Matt (5-1): Wake Forest 38, Syracuse 24

This two headed rushing attack Wake has will be far too much for the Orange. If they couldn’t handle what Liberty had to offer on the ground don’t expect them to put up much of a fight against the Demon Deacons. If Sean Tucker doesn’t play, Carlos Basham Jr. will have field day, and get to know Rex Culpepper pretty well, as he’ll be throwing him to the ground left and right.

Jaron (4-2): Wake Forest 34, Syracuse 24

What is Syracuse’s strength? Forcing turnovers, right? Well, Wake Forest doesn’t do that. The Demon Deacons have only lost one fumble all season, while Sam Hartman has thrown 155 consecutive passes without a pick. What is Syracuse’s weakness? Rush defense, correct? Well, Wake Forest has a two-headed monster in its backfield with Kenneth Walker and Christian Beal Smith. Both guys are in the top-ten of ACC running backs in terms of rush yards. Plus, Walker is tied in second in the conference with eight rushing touchdowns already. What is Syracuse’s other weakness? The offensive line, right? Well, the Demon Deacons have this guy named Carlos Basham Jr who is a consensus first round draft pick and has the longest active streak in the FBS with 23 straight games with a tackle for a loss. The Orange are banged up, Wake Forest’s strengths are Syracuse’s weaknesses, and the Demon Deacons have a whole lot of momentum right now. These games are always close and competitive, but I don’t see SU pulling this one out. Give me the Deacs.

John (4-2): Wake Forest 31, Syracuse 20

Syracuse exceeded expectations last week against Clemson. However, that was against a bona-fide program rival in Clemson. Teams always get juiced up for those games. I think SU is back to the usual disappointment this week, but hey I’m still gonna watch it. Sam Hartman, Donoavon Greene, and Kenneth Walker are just too much for this SU defense. As for the offense, the usual, maybe Taj Harris plays this week and provides a jolt for the unit. I just don’t see it, but I hope I see Sean Tucker back and running the rock for the Orange.

Harrison (4-2): Wake Forest 34, Syracuse 20

Syracuse’s trip to Clemson might have gone a lot better than people thought, but Orange faithful should still have its expectations tampered. Wake Forest comes winners of three straight and has had a considerable amount of success on the ground, in that span. At 3-2, the Demon Deacons have had an 100-yard rusher in four of their five games. Their ground game is highlighted by Kenneth Walker III, who ranks sixth in the ACC in rushing yards. However, Wake’s Christian Beal-Smith isn’t far behind at 11th in the conference, creating a viably dangerous backfield.  Ultimately, it’s just difficult to feel confident rolling with  the Orange right now. All things considered, my hunch says SU falls to 1-6. Perhaps some momentum from staying in it for most of last week’s game — and now returning home — has something to say it about that, but I just don’t see it.

Gill (3-3): Wake Forest 32, Syracuse 18

I haven’t had a good read on Syracuse all season long. As much as I’d love to look in the mirror, it’s not all on me. The Orange have taken the field with varying degrees of focus and effort level week by week. It was very clear: they got up for Clemson, UNC and Pittsburgh, not for Duke and Liberty. That, in itself, is disappointing. Particularly on the defensive side of the ball, I simply can’t predict how engaged Syracuse is going to be any given week.
With that being said, Wake Forest is a bad matchup.

Syracuse could struggle with a two-headed tempo rushing attack between Kenneth Walker and Christian Beal-Smith, both averaging over five yards per carry. Boogie Basham is going to wreck havoc off the edge as well. If Sean Tucker isn’t healthy for SU, forget about it.

Thomas (3-3): Wake Forest 35, Syracuse 27

Despite the improvement SU showed against Clemson, the Orange will lose for just the fourth time in program history against the Demon Deacons. In last week’s win over No. 19 Virginia Tech, Wake Forest collected three interceptions, and forced three more fumbles. While SU might tag WF quarterback Sam Hartman for a couple of picks, expect Wake’s opportunistic defense to strike as well. For Syracuse to win any of its remaining games, this team needs a lot to go right. Sean Tucker – who was injured against Clemson – must play. Rex Culpepper must throw tight-spiraled passes, and receivers need to break some big runs. The defense can’t allow 235 yards on the ground that team’s are averaging against Syracuse. I don’t expect the Orange to check all those boxes on Saturday. SU will stay competitive, but Wake Forest leaves central New York with a win.

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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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