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Syracuse vs. Wake Forest: Crystal Ball Predictions

ETHAN (9-1): Wake Forest 42, Syracuse 21

Congratulations to the Orange for scoring their first touchdown since October. A true accomplishment. It only took 19 days since November started to get there. Too bad it will not be anywhere close to enough to beat the explosive Wake Forest offense. Sam Hartman and AT Perry are going to have a day similar to last season’s matchup in the Dome and wreak havoc on a Syracuse defense that has been reeling over the last few weeks. The injuries are catching up, and SU just doesn’t have enough talent to compete on this level with a team like Wake. Give me the Deacs to double up the Orange. Oh, and it’s Senior Day and I’m sure it will be emotional for Hartman and a lot of his teammates that are playing their final games in Winston-Salem.

CAM (6-1): Wake Forest 34, Syracuse 17

The last four games are a product of injury and poor play calling for Syracuse. On the injury front, the defense is started mostly inexperienced freshmen (which caught up to them against FSU) and Garrett Shrader’s ailment has halted his dual-threat ability. On the play calling front, three-and-outs have become expected for the Cuse. The philosophy of running the ball up the gut is useless and the lack of primetime wide receivers in the room is getting exposed due to the 3rd down and long routes SU WRs are forced to run.

Syracuse’s team makes no sense right now offensively, scoring just three touchdowns over the last 14 quarters. The defense can’t rely on studs to clean up poor coverage in the secondary or big bodies inside to stifle the running game, as evident by the Orange allowing 930 yards on the ground over the last four contests. All of these inconsistencies are finally in the forefront and luckily for Syracuse, arrived after its sixth win.

Peg this game as a Sam Hartman masterclass, with Wake ranking second in the conference in pass yards per game, and the Justice Ellison rush game, because a front of Darton, Fuentes-Cundiff and Jobity have no chance against a top 10 yardage back in the ACC. 

Unless SU’s defense holds Wake to under twenty points and Syracuse’s offense allows the defense to garner a little more rest, then expect another loss closer to the Pinstripe Bowl.

FRANCESCO (4-1): Wake Forest 41, Syracuse 10

This team is cooked. The story has been told over and over again: Dino Babers doesn’t win in November. When you don’t recruit well, you don’t have depth, and when you don’t have depth you don’t do well late in the season when the attrition starts to set in. But it’s not just that. Syracuse has been exposed against better, more physical teams down the stretch. Wake isn’t necessarily that. The Demon Decons are led by Sam Hartman, one of the better quarterbacks in the ACC who torched Syracuse in the Dome a year ago. It doesn’t matter. If Wake wants to run the ball it will, if it wants to pass it will, if it wants to use its run pass option constantly it will. SU is limping to the finish line, and this is just another checkpoint.

CARTER (6-2): Wake Forest 31, Syracuse 16

6-0 seems like an awfully long time ago for SU, but ‘Cuse’s problems are not all self-inflicted. The Orange have suffered through a number of injuries that would debilitate any team, and it doesn’t have the depth or transcendent talent or coaching to battle through it. That explanation doesn’t mean Florida State’s 35-point demolition of Syracuse on senior day stings any less. The wheels have officially come off SU’s car, and the ‘Noles decided to steal its catalytic converter just for good measure.

Having seen the way Syracuse has played its ball over the last four weeks, it should take any predictor one fraction of one second to know that the Orange stand no chance against Wake Forest. Quarterback Sam Hartman’s 28 touchdowns and 2,473 yards are the hallmark of an aerial attack that SU has to battle without Garrett Williams. Meanwhile, Sean Tucker’s official fall from star status coincides with an offensive unit that now looks neither healthy nor imaginative (looking at you, Robert Anae). Wake enters this one as a 10-point favorite. Be wise and pick them to cover.

IAN (5-2): Wake Forest 30, Syracuse 17

Anemic Offense. Injured defense. Going to face a unit that moves with a lot of pace, has multiple weapons and can burn you in many ways. Wake’s defense is bad – it’s been middling or worse for the past couple of years – but Sam Hartman is still a top 3 QB in the ACC and his experiences matters more than anything Syracuse can bring to the table. I don’t think either Garrett Shrader or Sean Tucker are 100%, and I’ll keep banging that drum until they do something to prove otherwise.

JOHN (5-2): Wake Forest 31, Syracuse 20

Syracuse has been abysmal offensively the past few weeks. Good luck keeping up with one of the most dangerous offenses in the ACC. I had this penciled in as a win coming into the season but I’m not so sure now. Wake is very solid defensively in addition to the offensive prowess and gets Syracuse at home. The Orange have yet to beat a power five opponent on the road this season. Wake Forest should cruise behind Sam Hartman and a balanced offensive attack.

LIAM (7-3): Wake Forest 41, Syracuse 17

SU is broken on both ends of the ball, and it was never more evident than against Florida State last week. Players are dropping like flies, and several players that are battling through it clearly aren’t playing to their best abilities (a la Garrett Shrader and Sean Tucker). 

Wake Forest has one of the most dynamic offenses in college football. Ever since he returned, Sam Hartman has looked like one of the best signal callers in the ACC, though it’s kind of easy when you have A.T. Perry at your disposal. Last year, Perry had just three catches against the Orange, but all three of them were for 20+ yards, and all three were for touchdowns (including the game-winner in overtime).

The Demon Deacons’ defense is not nearly as formidable as the Seminoles’, so SU should put up more points, but it just can’t keep up with Hartman and company. If my prediction is correct and Syracuse loses, it’ll be one loss away from becoming the third Power Five team to start a season 6-0 and finish it 6-6. 

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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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