Ed. Note - This week, TNIAAM writers are taking a stab at telling you why this football team will finish with a specific record.
I know what you're thinking. 8-4 was one thing but 9-3? Come on, bruh. Do you even Syracuse Football?
Bruh. I do. I do Syracuse Football. More than that, I College Football. And if you've College Footballed for a little while, you've learned a very important lesson.
Weird shit happens.
Every season, there's a team that was supposed to be Top Ten and ends up 5-7. Every season, there's a team no one expected anything from that wins ten games (Hi, Duke).
So when I
stand sit before and attempt to convince you that the 2014 Syracuse Orange football team is going to go 9-3 in the regular season, I suppose I'm really asking you a question...
Why Not We?
So here's how we get there. Before the season even begins, we have to make a couple assumptions.
1. The offense has things figured out from the get-go. Terrel Hunt is improved. Prince-Tyson Gulley is stepping up his game big time. Jarrod West is ready to be a deep threat. Brisly Estime and Ashton Broyld give Syracuse a one-two punch that keeps defenses constantly guessing.
2. Scott Shafer, George McDonald & Chuck Bullough are Year Two Smart. Remember how much better Doug Marrone was as a head coach in Year 2? Just little things that helped turn a four-win squad into an eight-win team.
3. The secondary, somehow, finds the ability to shut down the deep ball. Meanwhile, the defensive line is able to anchor things just enough for the linebackers to dominate.
I don't ask for much.
at Central Michigan Chippewas: A lot of folks are looking at this one as a potential stumbling block. The truth is, not much stumbling. Perhaps some rumbling, bumbling, stumbling by Adonis Ameen-Moore into the end zone, but that's it. Little bit of a slow start but the Orange take care of business with a 38-21 win. W (2-0, 0-0)
Maryland Terrapins: Our former ACC foes come to the Dome looking to take out their angst against the conference on us. Alas, it's not to be. Terrel Hunt really starts to figure out the offense and, somehow, believe it or not, Maryland loses to a "terrible" team two years in a row. W (3-0, 0-0).
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: So far, so good. Not terribly shocking for the Orange to start 3-0. Here's where it gets shocking. The Orange are now playing in MetLife Stadium for the third time so the shock of it has worn off. They're due for a win in their "home away from home." Meanwhile, Notre Dame is the kind of team that lays a stinker at inopportune times, and we can assume they'll still be without DaVaris Daniels, KeiVarae Russell, Ishaq Williams and Kendall Moore, which will make a difference. Plus, we kinda have a thing about beating Notre Dame when the situation calls for it. Perhaps it won't be easy but Syracuse "shocks" the world with a 27-24 victory. W (4-0, 0-0).
Louisville Cardinals: The Cardinals visit the Dome with the intention of bringing Syracuse back down to Earth. Clearly, they will, cause, they're good and we're not, right? WRONG. Syracuse also has a thing about beating Louisville when it's not supposed to and the fact that the Dome is sure to be rocking only helps matters. Throw in that it's a Friday night game and Louisville's ACC debut and all sorts of bad juju is waiting for them. It's gonna get weird, you guys. W (5-0, 1-0).
Florida State Seminoles: At this point, Syracuse is getting Top 25 votes and someone like Mark May is going to feel the need to pick Syracuse to win this game. You'll starting talking yourself into the idea by Thursday. And then we'll lose 45-13 because life isn't fair. L (5-1, 1-1).
at Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Good timing here cause the Deacs are awful and Syracuse will need a chance to get back some mojo. Mojo achieved. Bowl game locked in. W (6-1, 2-1).
at Clemson Tigers: There's a part of me that wants to say we'll beat Clemson just to piss off J. Slater. And perhaps this Syracuse team hangs tough and turns this into a game. But let's not get greedy. We've already got six wins. L (6-2, 2-2).
N.C. State Wolfpack: NC State is going to be pretty good, apparently. That's what lazy prognosticators tell me. They're going to win 6-7 games because...uh, I don't know, don't they always? What's weird is, we beat them last season. What's even weirder? We'll beat them again this season.W (7-2, 3-2).
Duke Blue Devils: One team is coming into this game 7-2 and the other is coming in 4-3. Just not the way they were supposed to... W (8-2, 4-2).
at Pittsburgh Panthers: You guys, we're totally going to lose to Pitt. Why? BECAUSE SYRACUSE FOOTBALL, that's why. Of COURSE we'll lose to Pitt while being 8-2 in the midst of a magical run. And we're going to lose something like 12-9 on a last second field goal because GOD DAMN PITT. #Rivalry L (8-3, 4-3).
at Boston College Eagles: How delicious is it going to be when we come into this game with eight wins and Boston College has two? VERY DELICIOUS. That's how delicious. We may lock up the Orange Eagle Trophy by November. Sorry, Dudes. W (9-3, 5-3).
And there you have it. Syracuse finishes the magical season with a spot in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against South Carolina, which, we'll deal with when we get there.
Sadly, because of the fantastic rise to power, Scott Shafer is wooed by West Virginia to replace a fired Dana Holgorsen. Fire up the Schwartzwalder!!!
Good luck in 2015, Syracuse Football Head Coach Gerry McNamara.