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Syracuse vs Boston College: Crystal Ball Predictions

John (7-1): Syracuse 31, Boston College 17

Syracuse is back in the Loud House this weekend. The Orange have played very well in their home field this season and Saturday should be no different. SU should piece together another winning effort and push itself even closer to a bowl berth. Boston College is struggling without its star quarterback Phil Jurkovec. The Eagles offense is one-dimensional and lacks an identity. This is just the recipe for failure especially when matching up with a Syracuse defense playing with its 12th man.

Boston College struggles to stop the run game. Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham ran circles around the Eagles last week and I fully expect Garrett Shrader and Sean Tucker to do the same. BC is 119th in the nation in pressure rate averaging a sack on just 3.53% of its plays. Shrader should have plenty of time to create inside and outside of the pocket. Shrader and Tucker will team up for 300+ yards on the ground. What is Boston College good at? Pass defense but SU doesn’t prioritize the pass and Boston College certainly hasn’t faced a running back as talented as Sean Tucker this season. The Orange are 7-1 against the spread this season and favored by 6.5, make it 8-1, make my record 8-1, and ‘Cuse covers.

Ian (6-2): Syracuse 17, Boston College 14

This game plays out just like last year’s, except this time SU has the crowd to push it over the edge. Neither team is an offensive juggernaut, but the Orange’s defense keeps their head above water. If Dino Babers and company get caught out by Jeff Hafley not naming a starter, the seat is going to get hot again. And by the way, Tucker’s going for 100+ again.

Matt (5-3): Syracuse 21, Boston College 17

Boston College is without a solidified starter at quarterback after Phil Jurkovec underwent hand surgery earlier this season. That usually plays to the opponent’s advantage. The SU defense needs to take advantage of whichever lackluster arm they’ll see on Saturday, whether that be Dennis Grosel or another. On the other hand, SU’s offense has its work cut out. The Eagles boast the nation’s 35th best defense in terms of opposing points per game. Garrett Shrader will NEED to have the arm working if Syracuse is to pull this one out. We all saw what happened to Sterlin Gilbert’s offense when Clemson shut down the run game inside the Dome a few weeks ago. If Syracuse wins this game it will be because it found versatility on the offensive side of the ball.

Jaron (5-3): Syracuse 27, Boston College 20

Boston College started the season extremely strong, however, you need to take into account who the Eagles were beating. They took down Colgate, UMass and Temple. Congrats? None of those teams should be in the same realm of BC, and they weren’t. So, you can’t put too much stock in those wins. After that, the Eagles have gone 1-3 with bad losses to NC State and Louisville. While BC is on a downwards trend, SU is hitting its stride. Garrett Shrader and Sean Tucker are the most dangerous one-two rushing punch in the ACC.

The key to this game for the Orange is being solid on the offensive line. Some injuries have dismantled the group, making it more difficult for Tucker and Shrader. If they can get healthy or the backups can be solid, SU will easily win. On the flip side, Boston College will need QB1 Dennis Grosel to figure it out. He’s been one of the bottom quarterbacks in the conference this season, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. If he has a day, then the Eagles will make it interesting. I don’t envision Grosel beating the SU secondary, so give me the Orange in this one.

Carter (4-4): Syracuse 28, Boston College 13

Syracuse has played each of its last five games down to the wire, and each one ended on what felt like a coin-flip play here or there. That may be why I’m 1-4 in my last five Crystal Ball picks. To counteract the bad vibes, I’m going bold this week: SU is about to run BC right out of the Dome.

On paper, the 4-3 Eagles don’t look all that bad. However, they’ve propped up their stats against some truly miserable teams (looking at you, UMass and Colgate) and have lost three straight ACC games against beatable teams. A lot of the struggles are owed to missing quarterback Phil Jurkovec, whose status has been under a gigantic microscope ever since he underwent hand surgery in early September. In the meantime, backup Dennis Grosel has thrown seven interceptions, and BC has scored just 34 points over its last three games. On Monday, Grosel was tabbed as the starter for this weekend. That’s big news for SU’s embattled defense.

Syracuse could still blow this game if one of two things happen. If Dino Babers’ staff has more major time-management bobbles or if SU can’t contain running back Pat Garwo III (who’s averaging 6.2 yards-per-carry), another would-be win might go by the boards. Otherwise, I’ll take the red-hot duo of Garrett Shrader and Sean Tucker all day against a BC defense that allowed over 300 rushing yards last week.

Cam (4-4): Syracuse 28, BC 20

Can the Orange win by more than one possession? I don’t think SU’s need to quench the thirst of the flare for the dramatics will allow them to. Even though the Orange are a better team than the Eagles, have more momentum and put forward the best 1-2 rushing punch in the nation, Syracuse can’t seem to sink conference foes. That being said, the Orange will still win this game. They’ll once again shoot themselves in the foot in some capacity, but the dynamic duo of Garrett Shrader and Sean Tucker will end up saving the day.

The defense is where the concern lies and I think their performance finishes with a subpar grade. SU’s saving grace is BC’s lingering question mark at the QB position, and with that uncertainty comes a group hungry to at least put on an okay show for the home crowd. It won’t be a pretty win towards the end of the ballgame, but as the Orange have banked on this year, a win is a win.

Brad (3-5): Syracuse 35, Boston College 28

Boston College dropped their last three games, all in conference. Syracuse is coming off an enormous ACC win. This isn’t gospel, but the teams are trending in opposite ways. The question at the quarterback position on SU’s sideline is how and why Garrett Shrader was snubbed from ACC Offensive Player of the Week after his five touchdowns against Virginia Tech, three on the ground which ties an Orange QB rushing record in a single game. Meanwhile, BC fans are wondering who will start behind center. The uncertainty on one side and the momentum on the other screams Syracuse’s second ACC win of the year. 

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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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