CFN.com has ranked every 2012 college football team from the best (LSU) to the worst (Hi UMass!). Just about right smack dab in the middle is your Syracuse Orange!
(2011 Record: 5-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 6-6)
The Orange have to be better in Big East play after collapsing last season and finishing 1-6 in the conference, but most of the top offensive playmakers are gone along with some key pieces up front. Pass rusher Chandler Jones is gone off the defensive front but the back seven is loaded with experience. More than anything else under coach Doug Marrone the team has to learn how to own home field. The USC game in New Jersey doesn't really count as a home date, but it's close enough to make it four friendly games in the first five. With four road games in the final five, SU has to get off to a hot start and will have to steal a game against a good team like South Florida or Cincinnati.
I would describe the USC game a lot of different ways. "Friendly" is not one of them.
Among the teams on Syracuse's non-conference schedule are No. 6 USC, No. 35 Missouri, No. 50 Northwestern and No. 70 Minnesota.
Big East teams ranks as follows... No. 14 Louisville, No. 25 Rutgers, No. 37 Cincy, No. 47 USF, No. 51 Pitt, No. 76 UConn and No. 101 Temple, putting us in sixth place.
FYI, Big East future crown jewel Memphis is the next-to-worst team in the nation (No. 123).
6-6 is a prediction a lot of Syracuse fans would take right now. Andrea Adelson is cautiously-optimistic about SU and it looks like expectations are rolling in slightly better than expected in other places as well. The Big Ten Network says that Minnesota should look out for the Orange when they visit in September, calling it their toughest non-conference game:
A visit from Syracuse on Sept. 22 will be a good litmus test for Jerry Kill’s second edition of the Golden Gophers. Yes, the Orange went only 5-7 (1-6 Big East) last season, but Syracuse appears to be a program on the rise under Doug Marrone. Minnesota may be aiming for a 4-0 start with a victory here. Really. And that would be huge for the Gophers’ bowl hopes.
Syracuse Football 2012: They Might Not Be As Bad As You Think.