I have higher hopes for this football team than most people, even if we don't know who our starting QB will be this upcoming season. Looking at the 2013 schedule, I divided the schedule into three parts: the four non-conference games before the first bye week, the three conference games after the first bye and before the second bye and then five games after the second bye. I think this team can go 8-4 against this schedule if everything goes right.
The first four games: 3-1
In first four games, Syracuse will play Penn State at a neutral site, @ Northwestern, and home vs. Tulane and Wagner. Tulane and Wagner should absolutely be wins for the Orange. Winning one the game against either Penn State or Northwestern will not be impossible. Penn State's roster is still depleted from the Sandusky scandal and Syracuse almost won last year's game against Northwestern but for a ridiculous late hit call.
Next three games: 1-2
Home against Clemson, at NC State & at GT Tech. Each of these games will be difficult, but Syracuse should be competitive in all three and hopefully can pull out one of them. Clemson is in the Dome and SU has a bye week to prepare. Clemson has superior athletes, especially in Tahj Boyd & Sammy Watkins, but they aren't anymore athletic than the West Virginia team Syracuse shut down in the Pinstripe Bowl. NC State has a new coach and new QB who wasn't recruited for that coach's system. Doeren's success at NIU was largely tied to his QB. Without that type of athleticism at QB, his system won't work. I think this is the most winnable of the three games. GT at their place will be tough. Syracuse has seen anything quite like GT's triple option and they have a lot of seniors coming back this year.
Last five games: 4-1
Home games against WF, BC & Pitt; away games Maryland & Florida St. Syracuse should win all three homes games against equal or inferior (WF, BC) programs. Pitt is about on par with Syracuse but they're replacing their QB (although Sunseri was sometimes their own worst enemy) and their leading rusher and its in the Dome. Maryland went 4-8 last year and ended up playing a LB at QB do to injuries by the end of the year. I think they'll improve this year but not so much that Syracuse can't beat them. At Florida State I'm chalking up as a loss. This is will be the most intimidating environment Syracuse will play in this year. On the hand, Florida State may end up starting a true freshman next year, so who knows?
If Syracuse can go 3-1, 1-2 & 4-1 that would be a final record of 8-4(5-3 ACC) and probably good enough for third in the Division.