The Biggest Game Of The Season Of The Week is here. The Syracuse Orange will look to keep the positive mojo going when they take on the Maryland Terrapins in College Park. Wilmeth Sidat-Singh is looking down on the squad as they try to move one step closer to bowl eligibility. Can they do it? Let's see what the TNIAAM crew thinks...
Syracuse 17 - Maryland 10
On paper, Maryland has a bit more talent than Syracuse and because the game is on its turf I can understand why the Terps are favored in this one. However, there's a lot to be said about the Orange's determination and confidence that they can go on the road and earn an ACC victory -- they already did it at N.C. State this season. Luckily, Maryland is banged up and its talent on offense, especially its wide receiving corps and quarterback, do not scare me as much as they did at the beginning of the year. Because of that, it is going to be a grind-it-out grudge match that the Orange know how to win. All I can hope for is that Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley go wild, and SU moves within a victory of a bowl game.
Syracuse 23 - Maryland 21
Karma has been a particularly angry little pill to Maryland this season. The Terps, who were looking awfully good heading into ACC conference play, ran into the soul crusher that is Florida State, suffered key injuries to several of their offensive leaders and have had the door knob hit them hard on the way out of games against Wake Forest and Clemson. CJ Brown is back, but Syracuse's D is playing with confidence again, and I expect them to keep the Maryland offense in control enough to allow Terrel Hunt to have his best game since Tulane. Terrel puts down a respectable 180 pass, 50 run, 2TD performance, and Syracuse grinds out a hard-nosed win in College Park, giving them three (well, two) shots at bowl eligibility.
Syracuse 24 - Maryland 20
Syracuse's game plan to winning should be fairly simple: run the ball (easy, but George McDonald doesn't think so) and limit turnovers. If the Orange can control the tempo and play mistake-free football, there's a pretty good chance they're winning this game. But since our first-half play-calling has been questionable, that's where things could go south. If the offense can't score, the onus will be on the front seven yet again to generate some pressure and break down the Terps' line. C.J. Brown's back from injury, though without reliable receivers to throw to, there's no guarantees he'll be as effective as he was earlier in the season. Syracuse wins, but not by as much as we'd like to see.
Syracuse 17 - Maryland 13
If all those injured Maryland players are in fact back and able to make contributions, then my prediction changes. But I just don't see the Terps being healthy and able and I do think Syracuse, using its Rush Lane offense and aggressive and frustrating defense, can do just enough to win. It'll be close, it'll be ugly, but it should be another notch in the bed post of the Belk Bowl for the Orange.
Syracuse 21 - Maryland 16
I think this game is more about Maryland being ravaged by injury than Syracuse being markedly better than the Terps. With Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, this would probably be a different game, but they're out and C.J. Brown may not be 100%, and Syracuse's defense does well when it smells quarterback blood in the water. On the other side, there were some encouraging signs in the second half of the Wake Forest game as the staff looked to get its playmakers like Brisly Estime involved, and while he didn't set the world on fire by any means, Terrel Hunt played his best ACC game. Syracuse's defense holds strong, the offense puts together a few quality drives, and the Orange leave College Park one win away from a bowl berth.
Syracuse 20 - Maryland 16
Maryland doesn't scare me, which I suppose should scare me. And the fact that we're all picking Syracuse to win should REALLY scare me. Syracuse remains an extremely inconsistent football team and until they break that mold, there's no reason to make assumptions about Saturday. That said, on paper, if this Syracuse team just keeps doing what it did last week, there's no reason why they CAN'T win. The offense is kinda-sorta finding its identity and the defense seems to have things in order. With FSU looming and the Pitt & BC games looking like toss-ups, a win here would go such a long way.
But what do you, loyal fan, think will happen?
More from Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician:
- ACC Football Previews & Predictions: Week 11
- Syracuse Vs. Maryland: Q&A With Testudo Times
- Sorry Richie Incognito, Scott Shafer Likes To Leave It On The Field
- TNIAAM College Football Pick'em: Week 11 Schedule & Betting Lines
- Syracuse Sports Make Me Drink, Episode 9: Previewing Maryland/Basketball Season