Louisville 27 - Syracuse 16
It's amazing what a difference just a couple weeks can make. Fourteen days ago, I loved this Syracuse team. A 7-5 season -- or, dare I say 8-4? -- seemed in the works. But, today? Forget it. After seeing what I saw in the Maryland and Notre Dame games, I don't feel at all good about the Orange. And now they have to play a Louisville team which is a field goal away from being 5-0. (The Cardinals' lone slip up this season was a two-point loss at Virginia, which, considering how well the Cavaliers have played, isn't a bad loss.) If Terrel Hunt and the offense couldn't manage to finish drives against Maryland's 91st-ranked defense two weeks ago, I don't expect they'll fare much better tonight. Louisville's defense ranks third in the nation in yards per game allowed and ninth in points per game allowed. I hope I'm wrong, but I can't see Syracuse winning this game.
Syracuse 21 - Louisville 17
Well, with the loss to Maryland, and the loss that we had assumed to Notre Dame coming to fruition, this game is very important. Luckily, Louisville, like Syracuse, is having a number of issues on offense, although they're a bit reversed. Louisville can't move the ball, but score when they get to the red zone, Syracuse moves the ball a ton, but can't score. Both teams are also unfortunately going through serious injury issues. Ultimately, I think Syracuse's pass rush pressure against a young quarterback in Reggie Bonnafon winds up being a pretty big factor, and while I think Louisville's defense plays well, eventually something has to give when Syracuse gets to the red zone. I'm putting Syracuse down for three touchdowns straight up, because you know there will be at least one missed field goal in here somewhere.
Syracuse 20 - Louisville 17
After having some bad feelings about the last few games (I was right on both of them) I have a much better feeling about this one. Sure, Syracuse is missing a few key playmakers at the wide receiver position, but I think this might be a good thing as maybe it will force the Orange to run more. As for Louisville, their backup quarterback is going to see a lot of pressure and with its top wide out, well, this could lead to a defensive showdown that I think SU can win.
Syracuse 20 - Louisville 17
Syracuse's defense slows the Cardinals run game while forcing their frosh (backup) quarterback into multiple turnovers. Hell, Golson had how many last weekend? It should be lower scoring and probably not a fun one to watch, exactly what the doctor (Daryl?) ordered.
The Invisible Swordsman
Syracuse 26, Louisville 23 (OT)
Both teams play to a tense defensive stalemate and enter overtime at 20-20. Louisville takes the ball first and makes it inside the ten before having the drive stall. They settle for a field goal. Syracuse takes the ball where the punch it down to the 1 yard line when two AAM dives nets a loss of one. Following two straight illegal procedure penalties, SU throws an incompletion on 3rd down and lines up for the game tying 29-yard field goal.
The snap only carries four yards and dribbles into the hands of holder Riley Dixon. Extremely well prepared, the Louisville D drops back into a two deep zone coverage to protect against Dixon's cannon arm. Unfazed by the zone coverage, Dixon sends a bullet to Jamal Custis at the three. With two Cardinal defenders charging in on him, Custis sees a flash of orange light headed toward him...it's Dixon! At the last possible moment, Custis laterals the ball back to the SU punter in a two-person hook-and-ladder that sends Dixon into the end zone for the winning touchdown! Cool as a cucumber, he asks the entire cheerleading squad to marry him (they all say 'yes!' because Riley Dixon), Chancellor Seyvrud decides to reopen Castle Court for parties and Dixon is carried on the student body's shoulders all the way to Varsity where he himself turns over the Louisville banner on the ceiling!
Syracuse 28 - Louisville 21
The Orange take advantage of a true freshman QB as the defense picks up forcing turnovers where it left off against Notre Dame. Hunt is efficient and while the offense sputters a few times in our offensive half, we make the plays to pull off a modest upset in the Dome.
Syracuse 28 - Louisville 24
Obviously Syracuse's offense is a bit short-handed without Brisly Estime and Ashton Broyld out, but that may actually help the Orange finally open up their offense on Friday night. Without its best two short options, SU will be forced to throw the ball downfield a bit, keeping a run-focused Louisville defense on its heels. Things won't be perfect, obviously. This is Syracuse after all. But Terrel Hunt does enough to get the Orange into the end zone, and paired with its typical aggressive defense terrorizing freshman Reggie Bonnafon all night, it's enough to pull out a much needed victory.
Syracuse 28 - Louisville 23
Logical reasons as to why Syracuse wins this game? I don't have any. I also didn't have any in 2007, 2008 and 2012. But Syracuse beat Louisville those times all the same. I dunno...combine the fading but strong hope of Orange Nation with the Friday Night Lights and Louisville trotting ut a freshman QB and you give me some weird sense that this is one of those wins in The Age of Who The Hell Knows. Damn you, Syracuse Football. Win this game to justify my absurd hopes.
How about you?