The 2021 Syracuse Football schedule was released yesterday, and it’s daunting. We covered the schedule with a ranking of the games best to worst, and released our wayyyyyy to early record predictions. If you saw mine, you know I’m very skeptical of the team at this point.
But, despite the several losses I see on the slate right now, there are some interesting matchups that should be fun to watch. These are games that could be the difference between a 3-9 season and a 6-6 season. Here’s the three that I find most appealing.
Sept. 11 vs Rutgers
Non-conference football is AWESOME. You see premiere teams matchup with each other, like the SEC and the BIG 12 and sometimes in neutral locations. Well this game doesn’t attract the attention that Alabama vs Texas in Atlanta would, but it’s still a big game for both programs and here’s why.
Syracuse needs to win this game to earn some respect in the northeast. Rutgers HC Greg Schiano has done a remarkable job turning around the Scarlet Knights (again). As the wins pile up, the recruits notice. The prospects in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and everywhere in the northeast. So while it’s important for Dino Babers and Company to win and get SU to what should be a 2-0 start, it’s even bigger for recruiting.
Oct. 2 @ Florida State
When you first think about this game, it’s well-known that FSU is more talented on paper at most of, if not every position. But the Seminoles still don’t have an established quarterback and really struggled last year under first year head coach Mike Norvell.
Pundits believe State will take a monumental leap in year 2, but I disagree. They lose several talented players at many positions and have been about as inconsistent as the SU offensive line over the past two seasons. So maybe a couple years from now, but not in 2021.
This one’s interesting because if SU gets off to a 4-0 start with a big win over Liberty, maybe the Orange can steal one here in Tallahassee. Syracuse will have momentum and an extra day to prepare (if they want it), as the game against the Flames is on a Friday night. This would be a big win for the program and in 2018 the win over the Seminoles gave SU a 3-0 start, which of course culminated into a 10-3 finish.
Nov. 27 vs Pitt
No, I’m not throwing a Friday night game against Clemson in there willy-nilly. The Tigers ended the 2020 season in very disappointing fashion and frankly, underachieved. They’ll be ready to play every time they take the field this fall. I know they have a freshman quarterback, but I just don’t see it happening and if I see a blowout loss on the horizon, it doesn’t pique my interest.
I find this game to be much more interesting. In some universe, SU could be playing for bowl eligibility and this final home game over Thanksgiving Weekend could be what gets Babers and Company over the top. Not to mention it’s a rivalry game and SU has dropped three in a row to the Panthers.
Pitt loses several key starters on the both sides of the ball, and you bet the senior heavy SU roster will be ready to go for their final Dome game. The last time Syracuse ended the season with a home game against a respectable ACC opponent this happened…
So there you go, those are my picks for the three most interesting matchups on SU’s 2021 Football schedule. These are games that aren’t just interesting to find out about on twitter, like the Clemson game or the Liberty Friday night games.
I made these picks thinking that they could have huge implications for how the season will go. These are three games SU can win and needs to win if they want to go bowling in ‘21.