The good news is we’re back to 12 games. The bad news is most of them will be an uphill climb for the Orange. SU still has a lot of holes in its roster, and with their three best players leaving for the NFL Draft (Andre Cisco, Trill Williams and Ifeatu Melifonwu), the Orange will once again turn to young players to step up.
The non-conference slate has Ohio on the road, Albany, Rutgers and Liberty in the Dome. So, cue the eye-rolls. Syracuse has another date for an embarrassment on its home field against Liberty, but after the Flames’ 10-1 season with a bowl win against then-undefeated Coastal Carolina, maybe Orange fans will give the independent team from Lynchburg the respect they deserve. The proximity of the Rutgers game should be fun, but the Scarlet Knights are set to turn a corner in the second year of Greg Schiano’s second stint in Piscattaway.
After a one-win season, all eyes are on the conference schedule though. Sure, last year featured a 30-0 loss to Louisville and a 38-14 Wake Forest defeat. But SU was three points away from beating Boston College and one play away from taking down NC State. Last season was also a very tough schedule, drawing Clemson and Notre Dame.
The good news for Syracuse is that Notre Dame is out of the ACC. The conference slate instead matches Syracuse up with plenty of B or C list ACC teams like Florida State, Louisville, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.
Of course, they’ll still have to take their medicine against Clemson like they do every year. But this is a conference schedule that is slightly more beatable than last year’s. None of that changes what Syracuse brings to the table, but the Orange got a good draw with only one stretch of back-to-back road games and two bye-weeks far away from one another.