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Syracuse Football Will Be Bowling this Season

Folks we are just days away from Syracuse Football’s 2022 season opener against Louisville in the Loud House. Before the season begins, obviously the final crystal balls must be lodged and that’s what we are attacking today. Previously, one Fizzer released his opinion on how the upcoming season would play out for SU. With some recent details being released surrounding one particular ACC program, let’s update that projection today.

Week 1 vs Louisville, L (80% Confidence)

This matchup has all the makings of a win for Syracuse. Dome opener, probably a sold out crowd, chance to get the season started off with a HUGE ACC win. Right now it’s see it to believe mode though. Louisville has derailed SU under Scott Satterfield since 2019. Here are the recent scorelines: 56-34, 30-0, and 41-3. One thing is clear, UL can score points thanks to Malik Cunningham, and SU can’t tally enough.

There’s no way the ‘Cuse offense is clicking on the cylinders needed to keep pace in a shootout in week one. The Cardinals have a three-headed monster at running back which will eat up the SU front six. There may be some question marks at wide receiver but there’s a lot of talent and there’s also an all-conference tight end still in Marshon Ford. Oh, plus four of the five offensive linemen are back from last year’s team.

The Louisville defense isn’t the greatest and has talent sprinkled throughout but it doesn’t matter. UL will win this game with its offense, Syracuse won’t be able to keep pace.

Week 2 @ UCONN, W (100% Confidence)

It’s UCONN.

Week 3 vs Purdue, L (65% Confidence)

Kind of like Louisville, this is another contest in which Syracuse could win but it’s just not the smart prediction. Again, it all comes down to offense and at the end of the day, whoever scores more points wins right? The Boilermakers return one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten in Aidan O’Connell. The signal caller has a solid offensive line in front of him along with one of the best tight ends in the Midwest in Payne Durham. Additionally, this Purdue defense is just down right nasty.

The defensive line brings back four very experienced players. Behind them are a pair of linebackers who can make plays at every level and in every facet of the game. In the secondary, the safety tandem could be one of the best in the Big Ten west division. Finally, the Boilermakers brought in an electric playmaker in Iowa transfer Charlie Jones who is a dangerous receiver and returner.

The question marks for Purdue surround their run game which isn’t great and having to replace some prolific receivers in David Bell and Milton Wright. The sentiment around the skill position players is that it’s plug and play because Jeff Brohm, the Boilermakers head coach, is one of the most gifted offensive minds in the country. Could Syracuse win this game, yes. Are we going to predict that to happen? No.

Week 4 vs Virginia, W (60% Confidence)

This is going to be a fun one. A Friday night battle, inside the Dome with some revenge on the line. In one corner, an All-ACC quarterback who saw his coach and coordinator hit the exits. In the other corner, those same coaches that walked through the turn styles and opted for a new location. It’s Brennan Armstrong and the Cavs against Robert Anae, Jason Beck, and the Orange.

What will this game boil down to? You guessed it, offense. Armstrong passed for just under 4,500 yards last year and he has two of his top targets back. Additionally, Keytaon Thompson is back at his “football player” position and will be a matchup nightmare for the Orange defense. The versatile playmakers recorded about 250 rush yards in 2021 and reeled in 78 passes for 990 yards.

On defense, the second level is solid with linebacker and secondary production returning. The biggest questions surrounding the Wahoos come in the trenches. The top six offensive linemen from last year’s Cavs team are gone. On the defensive line, just one player with meaningful experience is back. Football is won in the trenches and Syracuse should have the upper hand there.

Expect big rushing outputs from Sean Tucker and Garrett Shrader and for Syracuse to turn Virginia one-dimensional and force them to run the ball well to win the game. SU snags a big time crossover ACC win.

Week 5 vs Wagner, W (100% Confidence)

It’s Wagner. It hasn’t won a game in three years.

Week 6 vs NC State, L (80% Confidence)

Got some petty cash lying around? Throw it on the Wolfpack to win the ACC in 2022. NCST returns an All-conference quarterback in Devin Leary, an experienced back in Jordan Houston, and two of the best receivers along the east coast in Thayer Thomas and Devin Carter. Protecting Leary are four returning o-line starters with an experienced tackle to replace Ikem Ekwonu at left tackle.

On the other side of the ball, this might be the best defense in the ACC. An All-conference defensive lineman returns, three all-conference linebackers, and a secondary loaded with proven talent. With all this experience and talent, the Pack is a program that’s trending up and quickly. Syracuse is just another stop on NC State’s road to the conference title game this year.

Record through six games: 3-3 (1-2)

That’s solid, Syracuse still has an opportunity at hitting six wins in the second half. Worst case scenario, SU is 2-4. Best case scenario, the Orange could be 4-2 or 5-1. So let’s sit in the median and take 3-3.

Week 7 @ Clemson L (80% Confidence)

For some reason there’s an optimistic vibe surrounding this game. Syracuse fans have been clamoring for a serious ACC rival since 2013. Perhaps the Tigers are the closest thing to that for the Orange. SU has played Dabo Swinney and company very competitively under Babers. Last year, the ‘Cuse fell 17-14 on a late missed field goal from Andre Szmyt. That game was very winnable for Syracuse though, no doubt about that.

Expect SU to hang in there for the first half but the wheels fall off in the second. Clemson returns a dynamic one-two punch at running back with Will Shipley and Kobe Pace. In front of these two ball carriers is an offensive line that returns a bulk of its 2021 production. Yes, DJ Uiagalelei was very inconsistent last season, but the Tigers will dominate this game in the trenches en route to a win in Death Valley.

Week 8 vs Notre Dame L (70% Confidence)

Super fun that the Golden Domers are back on the schedule and coming to the 315! ND returns to the Salt City for the first time since 2016. Unlike that 50-33 win for the Fighting Irish, the 2022 rendition projects to be low scoring. The question is which team can hold up the longest and which team has the most depth to gain the advantage?

There are a lot of unknowns surrounding Notre Dame’s offense. Former blue chip quarterback getting his first significant action, a former national recruit running back who has shown flashes but not consistency, and a wideout room with no proven commodities. At tight end, ND has one of the best NFL prospects in Michael Mayer. In the trenches, the Fighting Irish are always solid and return three starters with more experienced players ready to step in.

Defensively, there are less question marks and more periods. Isaiah Foskey has star potential and looks to build on an eleven sack campaign last season. At linebacker, JD Bertrand returns after totaling over 100 tackles on year ago. In the secondary, Northwestern transfer Brandon Joseph is ready to show why he was an All-American in 2020 and one of the most coveted transfers on the market.

If Notre Dame can get its offense rolling, and it should by week 8/9, then this is a dangerous team and one that should handle Syracuse. ND wins a competitive mid-scoring contest to extend SU’s losing skid to three games.

Week 9 @ Pittsburgh L (75% Confidence)

This early November showdown is the game to keep your eyes on this year. A win in the Steel City could propel Syracuse to a strong finish, maybe even a 4-0 finish, who knows. In any case, if SU wins this game it is extremely likely they make a bowl game. There are six very likely wins on this schedule: UCONN, Virginia, Wagner, FSU, BC, and maybe Pittsburgh.

After two probable losses to Clemson and Notre Dame, the Orange will be reeling and sitting with a 3-5 record and dangerously close to missing out on a bowl game. A defeat to old Big East rival Pitt would be very crippling to morale and chances at the postseason.

In 2022, the Panthers have to replace an NFL quarterback in Kenny Pickett, stud wide receiver Jordan Addison who left for USC, and a very bright offensive coordinator in Mark Whipple. Can Pitt get solid quarterback play from former Trojan Kedon Slovis? That’s the biggest and frankly only question surrounding Pat Narduzzi’s team.

Around Slovis, there’s a three-headed monster at running back, a veteran wideout with a MAC transfer that lit it up at Akron, and a trench unit which brings back its top seven offensive lineman and a proven tight end. So long as the passing game can be a threat, this Panthers offense is threatening on paper.

Flipping over to the other side of the ball, a pair of all-conference players anchor the defensive line, Syracuse native SirVocea Dennis is primed for a massive year, and the secondary brings back most of its contributors from 2021.

With so many known commodities and a program that continues to trend up year after year, this looks like an uphill battle. Syracuse loses this road test and puts its bowl hopes on life support.

Week 10 vs Florida State W (55% Confidence)

Depending on what happens in what used to be called Heinz Field, Syracuse may have to win out the rest of the way to stay in contention for the postseason. SU benefits from getting FSU at a very opportune time. The Seminoles travel to Coral Gables the week before heading up to the Salt City. That’s a decent amount of traveling to be doing in two weeks.

On top of that, Syracuse took Florida State all the way to the wire last season. The Noles knocked off the Orange on a late field goal but that could’ve easily been a win for the ‘Cuse. Mike Norvell, FSU’s head coach, is 8-13 entering his third season so 2022 will be massive for him and determining the trajectory of the program.

The Seminoles bring back some experienced, but unproven skill position players, four offensive line starters, a solid two-way tight end, and an up and down quarterback in Jordan Travis. On the defensive side, the defensive line looks to be very solid with the addition of four-star UAlbany transfer Jared Verse. In the second level there are question marks at corner, safety, and linebacker.

Syracuse will have its back against the wall in a game it needs to have in the Dome. Let’s not forget what happened the last time FSU made its way up to the Loud House. SU this one and keeps its bowl berth hopes alive but still in critical condition.

Week 11 @ Wake Forest W (55% Confidence)

Syracuse’s 2022 season may hinge on trips to Winston-Salem and Chestnut Hill in back to back weeks. Perhaps the Orange’s bout with the Demon Deacons will be their last chance to avoid bowl ineligibility. Wake returns pretty much all of its starting 22 and many backups that earned valuable playing time due to attrition down the stretch of 2021. Last year, the Demon Deacs won with their offense. Sam Hartman lit up Syracuse’s secondary and tossed a game-winning touchdown pass in overtime to seal a 40-37 win over SU.

**HOWEVER**

News broke recently that Hartman will miss a significant amount of time this season with an off the field injury/illness which hasn’t been publicly disclosed. Obviously this just completely changes the game for Wake Forest and its unfortunate that the defending ACC Atlantic champs won’t have the opportunity to defend their crown at full strength this fall. How do the quarterbacks look behind Hartman? Well three of them combined for 3-11 passing with 75 yards and one interception…woof

The Demon Deacons do still have 1st team All-ACC receiver A.T. Perry and former 2nd-teamer Donavan Greene who’s back from injury. However, with no gunslinger who has built that chemistry with both pass catcher, it’s going to be an uphill battle for Wake to pull off this win.

On the defensive side, the Deacs bring back several playmakers at each level of the defense. Three experienced defensive lineman hold down the trenches, veteran linebacker Ryan Smenda returns in the middle, and the second level of the defense has seen quite a bit of football too.

This had the makings to be one of the best games of the season, much like last year’s shootout. Now, some of that glamor is taken off of the November showdown. Still Wake Forest will be a very tough out down in Winston-Salem with that confusing mesh zone offense they run. Additionally, it helps the Demon Deacs that this is the penultimate game of the year for both teams. Who knows, maybe Hartman is back for this game or the offense is rolling along with the new quarterback. In any case, give me Syracuse to stay alive with a much needed win on the road and in November of all months.

Week 12 @ Boston College W (65% Confidence)

This might be it folks, the 2022 season may all come down to this game. A Thanksgiving road trip to a blistering cold Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill. BC figures to limping after consecutive road bouts with NC State and Notre Dame. SU may be limping too but with a potential 5-6 record and chance to clinch a bowl, the Orange should be fired up.

The Eagles are a very intriguing team. On the one hand they have dynamite playmakers in wideouts Zay Flowers, Jaelen Gill, and running back Pat Garwo. But on the other, there’s an up and down signal caller in Phil Jurkovec and an offensive line which brings back ZERO starters. That is absolutely massive for a Syracuse team that figures to be dominated more often than not in the trenches.

On defense, BC is very solid and has very few question marks. Last year, that same Eagles defense couldn’t contain Sean Tucker. The Maxwell watch lister ran for 207 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Garrett Shrader accumulated a whopping 65 yards on 5-14 passing in the 21-6 win. SU’s passing game figures to only take steps forward this season and by the game twelve, the aerial attack should be clicking on all cylinders. Syracuse wins its season finale in a low scoring defensive battle.

Well there you have it, Syracuse make a bowl game! The Orange definitely have the talent they need to get the job done, they’ll just need to snag some of the ACC toss up games later on in the season. A 6-6 record with a 4-4 showing in conference would be very solid and perhaps enough to earn Babers a brief extension or at the very least cool down his seat. Most oddsmakers have SU’s win total at five and anywhere in that neighborhood.

The Orange have a chance to hit 8-4, maybe 9-3 if they can get hot but they could also go 3-9. This season figures to be wacky and SU could pull off a win any given week. Drop your predictions in the comments or hit us up @orangefizz on Twitter.

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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