Syracuse 24 - Pitt 13
Tom Savage is able to make some plays with Devin Street playing against a hampered Syracuse secondary, but the Orange front seven wrecks havoc on a weak Pitt offensive line. I don't expect Syracuse to rack up another nine sacks on Savage like it did in 2009's upset of Rutgers, but I think that Jay Bromley will definitely get himself acquainted with the well traveled QB. With Aaron Donald having a huge season in the middle for the Panthers defense, I expect the explosiveness of George Morris and Devante MacFarlane to play a major part in this game, while Jerome Smith will look to set the pace for Syracuse on offense. SU clinches bowl eligibility with a week to spare.
Syracuse 23 - Pitt 20
Following Saturday's tribute to hangman over in Tallahassee, Syracuse is being asked for the third time this season to rise up off the mat, and claim the magic sixth win of their up-and-down season. Pitt is a team who is in many respects a mirror image to our Orange: capable of beating average-to-above average opponents, but with enough weaknesses misscues to keep Panther fans guessing week-to-week as to whether they'll get the Jekyll or Hyde version of their team. On Saturday, I expect Terrel Hunt to have a breakout Terrel Hunt game (135 yards passing and a TD!), and our defense will do enough to allow our resistible force to defeat their movable object. We achieve bowl eligibility ahead of #orangeeagle rivalry week!
Pitt 20 - Syracuse 14
I was just about to hit the send button, predicting that Syracuse would win. I was maybe a minute away from doing it. And then the injury report came. Jarrod West, Brisly Estime, Prince-Tyson Gulley, Isaiah Johnson, and not-as-surprising Julian Whigham - all out. I have no problem with last week's outcome. Before last week, Syracuse has lost three games by at least 20 points. And in all three cases, the Orange came back to win the next week. Even so, those injuries are just too much to handle. It's not necessarily the PTG one that bothers me because our running back depth is impressive. But with West and Estime out, who is T-Hunt going to throw to? I just don't think Ashton Broyld is good enough by himself, especially if he's going to be double teamed. It's going to be an ugly, low-scoring game and I see Pitt coming away with the win.
Pittsburgh 21 - Syracuse 16
There's probably too many injuries to really overcome here. I think Syracuse is, when fully health, much better. But the haze left by the Florida State haymaker hasn't cleared and I think Pitt has just enough talent to take advantage of the missing on both sides of Syracuse's ball. For whatever it's worth, I originally had the Orange winning this game. That's worth something, right?
Syracuse 23 - Pitt 20
Pitt has little in terms of an offensive line, so right away, Syracuse has a distinct advantage and should be able to blitz Tom Savage 'till the proverbial cows come home. If the Orange can get that sort of pressure right at the onset (and WRAP UP AND MAKE A TACKLE), it should be a very long day for the Panthers' offense. While SU's a bit banged up on offense, Prince-Tyson Gulley's injury may end up opening the door for a more consistent running game. Pitt's front seven needs to be worn down if we're going to run on them, so we'll need heavy doses of Jerome Smith early on. As has been the case in all of our ACC wins, the rushing attack starts and ends things.
Syracuse 16 - Pitt 13
I have two thoughts running through my mind about this game. On one hand, I am having flashbacks to 2011 and terrified the Orange are going to find a way to lose out. On the other hand, this totally feels like the kind of game the 2013 Syracuse football team wins. They're coming off an embarrassing loss, they're banged up and they're underdogs…so I pretty much have to side with them…
Now it's your turn...