The Syracuse football schedule was released yesterday, and a lot of what Orange fans expected to see came to fruition. The list of opponents was all but solidified, so there weren’t any surprises there.
The most unexpected aspect of the schedule was the order of games. Most years, it’s common to play most of the non-conference games first, then get into ACC play. Occasionally, SU opens the year with a conference foe, like Louisville in 2022. However, this year is completely different. The non-conference slate is all over the place.
Saturday, Aug. 31 – Ohio
Saturday, Sept. 28 – Holy Cross
Saturday, Oct. 5 – at UNLV
Saturday, Nov. 23 – UConn
It starts off normal. Syracuse opens the year against Ohio, which feels pretty normal. Those two teams have actually played a season-opener before, back in 2021. After that is when there are some anomalies. In the following three weeks, SU hosts Georgia Tech in a conference game, has a bye week, and hosts Stanford in a “Welcome to the ACC” game.
That means other non-conference games are pushed later into the season; Syracuse hosts FCS team Holy Cross in week five and travels to UNLV the week after. The Orange don’t even finish their non-ACC games until the second-to-last week of the season. That’s when SU hosts UConn.
The main takeaway is that Syracuse doesn’t really have a lighter stretch ease into the season. SU has to host Georgia Tech, a team that beat the ‘Cuse and made a bowl in 2023. Then, it’s Stanford, who has had a down few seasons, but is still a respectable conference foe.
This abnormal start could go in two very different directions. If the Orange win early, then they could quickly build some hype and have a 2-0 ACC record before anyone else. That’s massive for the confidence of a team playing under a rookie head coach.
The opposite is also true. It very well may take some time for Fran Brown to get used to calling plays and managing games. With potential losses in early conference games, the snowball effect could impact SU in a really negative way.
Similar to Syracuse men’s basketball this season, we’ll learn very quickly how low the floor is for the Orange based on the Syracuse football schedule this year.