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Schedule and Odds
Syracuse has improved a lot over the last couple of years, but the two pieces that attributed to most of that are now in the NFL. Head coach Doug Marrone and quarterback Ryan Nassib are gone which leaves the team with a few question marks at the moment, most notably at QB. Terrel Hunt is currently the frontrunner at the position, but nothing is in stone yet as new coach Scott Shafer has already come out and said the spot is up for grabs. Replacing a record-setting QB usually isn’t an easy thing.
The Orange will have to lean heavily on their run game this year as their top two running backs are returning in Jerome Smith (1,171 yards) and Price-Tyson Gulley (833 yards). Both averaged over five yards per carry in 2012, but without Nassib to worry about, defenses may be able to poach the run. The line returns three starters and will be important in keeping the run game at a high level. The Orange also lose their two top receivers which means a couple seniors will have to step up in Jarrod West and tight end Beckett Wales. With new offensive coordinator George McDonald leading the way, this unit is still an unknown entering a new conference.
Syracuse’s defense wasn’t over the top good last year, but if they want to stay on the same level, they’ll need to improve in a better conference. They’ll have plenty of experience returning at all positions and where you think there is a hole, they picked up a JUCO transfer in linebacker Josh Kirkland. The secondary also returns three starters which will be a major help against teams like Clemson. Most of the defensive staff is still around so that should help, as well.
2013 Syracuse Football Schedule
Aug. 31 vs. Penn State (MetLife)
Sept. 7 at Northwestern
Sept. 14 vs. Wagner
Sept. 21 vs. Tulane
Oct. 5 vs. Clemson
Oct. 12 at NC State
Oct. 19 at Georgia Tech
Nov. 2 vs. Wake Forest
Nov. 9 at Maryland
Nov. 16 at Florida State
Nov. 23 vs. Pittsburgh
Nov. 30 vs. Boston College
Once again, Syracuse will face two Big Ten teams in non-conference play to start the season. Winning at Northwestern will be hard, but their game against Penn State at MetLife Stadium will be really interesting in the opener. If they can get a win there, that would provide tons of early confidence. Their next two games need to be wins against inferior opponents.
The Orange’s ACC play starts with a nice welcoming to the Clemson Tigers and down the road in November, they get to travel to Florida State. Even with those schools on their schedule, there are still plenty of opportunities for them to get wins. Unfortunately, the Orange have to go on the road against most of the teams they’ll be competing with in their division in NC State, Georgia Tech and Maryland. If they can win at least one of those, it’d be a good sign. Home games against Wake Forest, Pittsburgh and Boston College are all favorable matchups at home.
Even with a new coach and QB, Syracuse shouldn’t be all that bad. As long as their new quarterback isn’t terrible, they have a good enough running game to churn out multiple wins. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them in a bowl game again this year.
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