Syracuse 21 - Central Michigan 17
This game has the feel of a good ol' fashioned slobberknocker to it. While I think Central Michigan will keep it closer than expected, I'm still buying the fact Syracuse has the better overall team. In all reality, a week off to prepare, a full game from Terrel Hunt and an ability to stop a fairly one-dimensional Chippewas offense should be just enough for the Orange to earn win number two of 2014.
Syracuse 27 - Central Michigan 21
Syracuse stops doing whatever it decided to against Villanova, and gets back to basics. The pass rush is incredibly effective in keeping CMU's air attack off-balance, and left to rely on the ground game, the Chippewas' big-play capabilities are limited. Terrel Hunt is far from perfect, but uses his legs to keep the defense honest -- though admittedly, the play-calling is still fairly uninspired overall from Syracuse. The Orange get the win, though plenty left to improve and build upon for the following week.
Syracuse 27 - Central Michigan 17
The Orange can't afford to underestimate an opponent, but won't this week. Sure, the home opener was embarrassing but it was the perfect mix for a Syracuse stinker -- unheralded competition, a scrambling quarterback and an ejection thrown in for good measure. SU has had two weeks now to clean up its act, and I expect the outcome to reflect that improvement. Recent history is on SU's side, too. Since 2009, Syracuse is 5-2 in games following a bye week. Terrel Hunt rolls through the Chippewa defense and continues that pattern.
Syracuse 31 - Central Michigan 14
The Orange will be motivated to show that week one was a fluke and they're as good as we all expected this fall. I still stand by my belief that we would have won easily had Terrel Hunt kept his emotions in check and I believe that we'll show what we're actually made of in a somewhat hostile road environment. The defense will also not have to defend against what appears to be our bigger weaknesses - a dual threat quarterback - and I think you'll see a much more solid secondary this weekend.
The Invisible Swordsman
Syracuse 38 - Central Michigan 30
Have you ever taken your warm, comfy self and thrown it into a pool of freezing cold water? Why are all of you looking at me like 'why the hell would I do that, Swordsman'? Well I have, and let me describe it to you in one word: Shock. There you were...one second dry, warm and comfortable. Then, the next second, your body is hit with a feeling so horrific and so sudden that your only thoughts are 1) how do I get myself out of this alive?, and 2) What do I have to do to never experience this feeling again??? Folks, this is Syracuse football heading into Game 2. We got out of our shocking Villanova ice bath safely, and I GUARANTEE YOU that our boys have worked their asses off ensuring that whatever just happened will not happen again. Expect SU to play focused, play composed, and achieve a workman-like road win over a decent but ultimately over-matched CMU.
Syracuse 24 - Central Michigan 19
Syracuse's defense, one that at times struggled against the run in the opener, will have trouble slowing down Central Michigan running back Thomas Rawls, which will in turn allow the Chippewas to control time of possession and stay in the game.
But a few factors should bode well for the Orange: 1) They're 4-1 since 2012 in games which they've had at least one extra week to prepare (that includes bowl games and games after bye weeks, but not openers), 2) I'd like to believe they won't take this underdog as lightly as they seemed to take Villanova, and 3) Terrel Hunt -- who said he felt like he let his teammates down when he was ejected in the opener -- should be a little more motivated than usual to bring his best game.
Syracuse 24 - Central Michigan 21
This is so cliche to say, and it could be too early to say this, but I can't help but think this is a "must-win" for Syracuse this week. I say this for a few reasons: 1) With all the negativity flowing through this team it needs something positive to happen, and a non-conference road win would do that; 2) This team needs to play better than it did against Villanova if it wants to gain some confidence moving forward.
Sure, the Chippewas may be better than we thought going into the season, but that doesn't mean the Orange shouldn't win this one. I think things turn around in a positive direction. It is going to be a dogfight, but SU comes out on top.
Syracuse 27 - Central Michigan 19
After a long two weeks off, I feel a bit better about things, and I truly believe the Orange will knock off the Chippewas in Mt. Pleasant on Saturday. Terrel Hunt clearly has a major chip on his shoulder heading into this game; I look for him to get going in the air and on the ground. I think that we'll look to get him in rushing situations early... he was starting to really churn out yards against Villanova during the drive in which he was thrown out. With Omari Palmer and Nick Robinson hopefully back, I think the running game as a whole will fare better. Defensively, it will help if Titus Davis is still hampered, but and if that's the case, I think the defense will be able to key in on the CMU power run game. I don't think it will be an easy win, CMU has looked pretty good, but I think we'll all be far happier than we were back on the 29th.
Syracuse 23 - Central Michigan 20
I do think the version of the Syracuse Orange football team we see this Saturday will be better than the one we saw two weeks ago. Problem is, so will our opponent, who's also the home team. There's probably a lot of folks back in Mount Pleasant who think they're gonna win this one and I don't blame them based on what they've seen so far. That said, Terrel Hunt will put in a Full 60 and we'll see an offense and defense that basically got an exhibition game and a bye week to sort themselves out. I think the Orange are the better team and I think they win but I do not think it will be easy. If this were the season-opener, they would have lost. Thank goodness it isn't.
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