The Syracuse Orange (3-4) have given themselves quite the task this Saturday. They not only have to try to end a four-game losing streak but they have to try to do it against the No. 17 Florida State Seminoles (6-1) on the road. Not to mention that the Noles are coming off a shocking loss and are sure to be piiiiiiissed. Working in SU's favor is the fact that RB Dalvin Cook will miss the game. Not working in SU's favor is every other athlete actually playing for FSU.
Do you the Orange have any chance to win? Do they have a chance to even cover? Let's see what the "experts" think.
FSU 27 - Syracuse 17
Now we know FSU is going to try and rest Cook to have him ready for Clemson next week so I think Jimbo is going to want to run the ball and try to keep the clock moving. Syracuse has been able to put some points on the board and I think they will stay in striking distance and keep the final score closer than the game itself plays out.
FSU 23 - Syracuse 14
I actually don't think this will be a blowout and I won't be completely shocked if Syracuse pulls out the upset. I'll certainly be less shocked than I would have been if the Orange had topped Florida State last season. The Seminoles really haven't been dominant this season, and without Dalvin Cook, I don't think they will be on Saturday. That said, Syracuse is still far less talented and isn't leaving Tallahassee with a win.
FSU 34 - Syracuse 24
The Syracuse defense is designed to make bad quarterbacks make mistakes. Unfortunately, Florida State has a pretty good quarterback, and one that's already had success against the defense in the short, quick passing game. Not having Dalvin Cook for this one will have little effect in the game for two reasons. 1. The Seminoles should be throwing the ball more than running. 2. Whoever they slot in behind Cook will probably still be the best running back on the field. That all being said, I think the SU offense is starting to click and should be able to put up serious points on Saturday, enough to keep this interesting relatively late, before the defense breaks in a big spot.
FSU 24 - Syracuse 13
No Dalvin Cook, and maybe no Everett Golson? Well this thing might get interesting. Florida State is going to still have a major talent advantage almost everywhere, but without Cook, this offense could be somewhat pedestrian. Golson hasn't been great this year, and is averaging under seven yards per attempt, but we saw what he did to SU last year. There may not be a huge dip with Maguire in, if he plays, but I'll take my chances with the less experienced player. I expect Syracuse to keep this respectable with all of FSU's issues, but ultimately we're not quite ready for an upset like this.
FSU 45 - Syracuse 14
This won't be pretty and I really don't think this is the week that SU puts it all together. The secondary is getting better but isn't ready to play spoiler yet. I don't think that like in years past our offense will be held hostage against a superior defense and Dungey will learn to get comfortable with quick reads and throws. Just don't get hurt and be ready to take on the rest of the schedule.
FSU 34 - Syracuse 21
Without Dalvin Cook, Florida State's offense has to adjust a bit, but Everett Golson's well-versed in picking this secondary apart. They're not nearly as explosive as they might typically be with a healty backfield, but the Seminoles still get the job done against the Orange, despite SU hanging tough. Syracuse gets off to a slow start on offense and the secondary gets burnt a few times, creating a two-touchdown gap by the middle of the second quarter. The Orange get back on track from there, but unfortunately can never close the gap in the loss.
FSU 38 - Syracuse 20
Here's the good news: I think Eric Dungey and the Orange can put points on the board against FSU. This offense finds ways to create momentum and use it's many weapons to it's advantage and I think we'll see a little bit of that magic come out from time-to-time, though I'm counting on a couple field goals where touchdowns should be (Thanks, Lester). Here's the bad news: Our defense won't stop FSU. Maybe they'll stem the tide at first as the Noles adjust their game plan, but eventually, the dam will break. Cook is a big loss but this is an offense full of four-star and five-star guys more than happy to step up. Good effort by the Orange on the road but it won't be enough.
Now it's your turn. What do you think will happen?