Syracuse Orange football's non-conference strength of schedule comes in at eighth in the ACC -- mostly due to LSU's presence. And obviously the league schedule has its own pitfalls with Florida State, Louisville and Clemson, respectively (all coming in back-to-back-to-back weeks, no less). So needless to say, there are some challenges due to the teams Syracuse will face. But what about the individual players they'll line up against?
Based on the latest Bovada odds, the Orange will face seven different preseason Heisman Trophy hopefuls, all listed at 100-to-1 or less. The seven, for those who weren't doing a quick tally in their heads:
Leonard Fournette, RB/LSU (14/1)
Deshaun Watson, QB/Clemson (16/1)
Everett Golson, QB/Florida State (25/1)
Dalvin Cook, RB/Florida State (40/1)
James Conner, RB/Pittsburgh (40/1)
Jacoby Brissett, QB/NC State (100/1)
Tyler Boyd, WR/Pittsburgh (100/1)
Obviously, SU avoids some of the top names like TCU's Trevone Boykin (the current favorite), and Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott and Braxton Miller. But still, that's a formidable list of players they'll go up against week to week. Fournette is the only one of these players they'll face in September. The last two weeks of October bring the four combined players on Pitt and Florida State. And then November yields Clemson's Watson and NC State's Brissett.
Odds are not always right, and they do change throughout the year, so who knows how many of these players will still be "in the running" for the Heisman once the Orange get around to playing them in 2015. But it's still a good measure of preseason difficulty, if nothing else. Perhaps we'll see an SU player on that list in a coming season (not likely, but I'm trying to be positive...).