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ESPN’s FPI Likes Syracuse’s Schedule, Dislikes Syracuse’s Roster

ESPN just updated its Football Power Index, and the system has two very different things to say about Syracuse football and its chances to succeed in 2024.

Let’s start with the good. According to the FPI, the Orange have the easiest schedule of any Power 4 team. No major program in the country will have as many easy games as SU does. Other ACC teams are close, such as Virginia Tech and North Carolina. Even the mighty Big Ten has a team, Rutgers, with the third-easiest set of opponents out of Power 4 schools. That’s great news for Syracuse, a team that has been held back in recent years by key losses to the ACC’s best, such as Clemson and Florida State. Unsurprisingly, SU doesn’t play either of those teams this year.

Despite the easy schedule, the FPI doesn’t love Syracuse as a team in and of itself. The Orange have an FPI of -1.2, which ranks 15 out of 17 ACC teams. Wake Forest and Virginia are ranked just barely below Syracuse, with scores of -1.3 and -1.4, respectively.

With all the positivity around the program this offseason, including the new coaching staff led by Fran Brown and an impressive group of transfers headlined by quarterback Kyle McCord, that low of a ranking might surprise Orange fans. However, with a lot of moving pieces, there’s still a lot of questions about the roster and how Brown will be as an on-field coach.

Weighing the easy schedule against the supposedly lackluster roster, the FPI predicts Syracuse to finish 6-6 on the season. That’s firmly below the most common over/under betting line for the squad, which sits at 7 wins on most betting websites right now.

6-6 would be below what most SU fans are expecting, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. According to the FPI, it would be 12th in the ACC, which is at least better than the team’s actual ranking, indicating a slight over-performance.

Syracuse has a lot of hype within the program’s bubble, deservedly so. There’s a lot of talent on the team, and a new coaching staff for the first time in almost a decade. However, this ranking shows not everyone, or even the numbers, is convinced yet. Maybe, ESPN’s rankings can be a bit of bulletin board material.

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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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