Francesco (5-0) (Exempt from prediction):
Whatever your expectations are for this game, lower them. Both teams come in on bad stretches. At 2-7, Pitt has consistently been one of the worst teams in the power five this year, with a random win against a ranked Louisville team mixed in. Syracuse, meanwhile, has lost five in a row and looks hopeless offensively. For the Orange to pull this out, especially if Garrett Shrader still isn’t healthy, they’ll need something to happen either defensively or on special teams. They need to score in a non-traditional way and hope their defense, which looked great against Boston College, plays lights out again.
Adam (7-1): Pittsburgh 13, Syracuse 6
I said it last week, and I’ll say the same thing again, until Syracuse proves its capable of beating a power five opponent, I can’t pick them to do it. The offense is in shambles without Garrett Shrader and with Carlos Del Rio Wilson getting banged up against Boston College. If Shrader plays, throw this prediction out the window and the Orange will score a touchdown. But if the offense is the same it was last week, unless LeQuint Allen has 200 rushing yards, the SU offense has no chance.
Liam (5-1): Pittsburgh 17, Syracuse 9
It doesn’t matter that this is the weakest Panthers team in forever. It doesn’t matter that their quarterback situation has been a whirlwind. It doesn’t matter that Pat Narduzzi all but lost the locker room a few weeks ago. No, all that matters is that Syracuse is cooked beyond repair. This game is the ultimate reminder that money trumps everything in collegiate athletics- if administration was serious about picking up a W in this contest, the game would be at the Dome, not Yankee Stadium. As cool as the atmosphere is going to be, it will not benefit the Orange. This game will be just as ugly and slow as last year’s matchup between Syracuse and Pitt, with the same outcome.
Ethan (7-1): Pittsburgh 13, Syracuse 9
This might be one of the ugliest football games of all time. Pittsburgh’s offense has been bad, and Syracuse’s offense has been bad. Add that to the fact that this game is being played outside, both teams have major questions at quarterback, and temperatures might be in the 40s and 50s, it is going to be a defensive battle. This isn’t a knock on the Syracuse defense as a unit, it’s about a team finding ways to win. This is probably Pat Narduzzi’s worst year as head coach at Pittsburgh, but he’s proven over time he knows how to find ways to win, and Dino Babers has proven the opposite. The Panthers make it six losses in a row for the Orange.
Tyler (5-2): Pittsburgh 10, Syracuse 3
Potentially a matchup between two backup quarterbacks, this could get ugly. In just conference games, SU has the worst scoring offense, putting up under 9 points per game. Pitt has tallied single-digit point totals three times, including its past two games. This will be an ugly slugfest that the Orange stay in thanks to their defense. But at the end of the day, Syracuse’s offense can’t be trusted until proven otherwise.