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Syracuse Football Schedule 2016: Very Early W-L Projections for the Orange

Now that we know who we're playing and when, what's Syracuse's chances of winning?

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the 2016 Syracuse Orange football schedule is official with dates and opponents and everything, it's probably worth taking a look at how many of the games SU can actually win. Last year, this exercise got us to 5.43 wins, and... obviously we fell short of that mark. The goal, as always, is six wins. So how close can we get with the 2016 schedule?

Week 1: Colgate Raiders

Colgate was no FCS pushover in 2015 (9-5 record). But Syracuse's old rival is still several rungs below them in the college football hierarchy. Never say never (despite SU still unbeaten vs. FCS teams since 1978), but this should be the first win of the Dino Babers era. Hoodoo is vanquished once again. Win likelihood: 98%

Week 2: Louisville Cardinals

A young Louisville squad from last year returns plenty of talent and should be more polished on offense with another year back under Bobby Petrino. Obviously the Orange looked dreadful against the Cards last season, but that was a different SU coaching staff and a much different defense too. Louisville coming to Syracuse helps the cause, but it's tough to see an easy road to a win for SU. Win likelihood: 20%

Week 3: USF Bulls

This time last year, we graded a USF road game as a 60-percent chance at a win. So what about this year when the young, rising Bulls come up to Syracuse? This is where things get a little dicey. USF largely beat Syracuse on speed and youth last year, and now that speed and youth is a year older. The season could be dictated on this game, as weird as it is to say this early. Unfortunately, the Orange shouldn't be favored right now. Win likelihood: 40%

Week 4: at UConn Huskies

Syracuse's first road game of the season sends them to nearby PAWS ARF, where Bob Diaco is actually creating successful football for the Huskies, even if watchability is questionable. This is as "good" a time as ever to mention that the Orange have never beaten UConn on the road. But despite that potentially poor omen, I'm willing to buy into a close victory in front of an Orange-partial crowd for Syracuse. Win likelihood: 55%

Week 5: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (at MetLife Stadium)

Notre Dame's going to be a top-10 quality team yet again, so that's not a great sign going into this. The wildcard will be how good SU looks up until this point. If the Orange have come out firing on offense and improved on defense, perhaps they make this one a bit of a game. If not, it's a loss -- but an expected one -- to wrap up non-conference play. I won't harp about scheduling this game, however, since a) we've made a lot of money off of the MetLife games, and b) despite scheduling this before the Irish joined the ACC, we would've had to play this one eventually anyway. Win likelihood: 7%

Week 6: at Wake Forest Demon Deacons

The Deacs weren't very good last year, and they aren't slated to be very good in 2016 either. Syracuse has yet to lose to Wake Forest since joining the ACC (knock on wood), and unless the Dino Babers era starts on a very sour note, I wouldn't bank on that streak ending. If it does, things will be very sad around these parts. Win likelihood: 75%

Week 7: Virginia Tech Hokies

Tech also has a new coach (Justin Fuente) who's likely to bring a better offense to Blacksburg. Perhaps we get them smarting from a loss to North Carolina? Or maybe looking ahead to Miami the following weekend? Otherwise, Virginia Tech's return to the site of many-a-Big-East-battle, the Carrier Dome, is probably going to rsult in a loss for the home team. Win likelihood: 20%

Week 8: at Boston College Eagles

"What's this game doing HERE?" Boston College doesn't appear to be improving on last year's disastrous outcome, but a three-point win from last year isn't a resounding reason to give Syracuse the upper hand over the Eagles on the road. SU will be playing its eighth straight game and could be feeling the effects of its first full season running Babers's fast-paced attack. They should win. But I'd bank on it being pretty close. Win likelihood: 60%

Week 9: Bye Week

Never can tell with those Fightin' Byes...

Week 10: at Clemson Tigers

The returning national runner-ups lose a bunch of talent to the NFL Draft, but also return Deshaun Watson AND bring in another quality recruiting class. Syracuse has actually hung with the Tigers the last two times they've faced off (consecutive 10-point losses), but that doesn't count for much when it comes to the talent gap. SU could potentially close the gap. It just won't happen right away. Win likelihood: 5%

Week 11: NC State Wolfpack

State's pesky more than anything else. But in the last two Syracuse losses to the Pack, NCSU's preyed off Orange mistakes and inability to get the ball in the end zone. That last bit's probably not the case anymore, so if SU can minimize the mistakes part of things, this could be a swing game that leans in its favor. I won't bank on it just yet, but it's a closer matchup than it may appear to be on paper right now. Win likelihood: 45%

Week 12: Florida State Seminoles

Consecutive home games are nice. But when one is against FSU, I wouldn't exactly call it a gift. The 'Noles could be national title contenders yet again this coming fall, and that likely spells bad things for the Orange's chances at an upset in 2016. Like Clemson, we have to keep playing the waiting game to put this one anywhere near a win. Win likelihood: 5%

Week 13: at Pittsburgh Panthers

You didn't watch this one before, so now putting it after Thanksgiving diminishes those chances even more. Pitt will be good but not great again, and Syracuse.. will either be fighting for a bowl or eliminated from eligibility already. Either way, this one is likely to be ugly at the very least. I'd love to be optimistic, but let's see how the season plays out before we start planning celebrations on this particular game. Win likelihood: 30%

For the math-impaired, that's .98 + .20 + .40 + .55 +.07 + .75 + .20 + .60 + .05 .45 + .05 + .30 = 4.6 wins


Happy? Pissed? Am I just as disloyal as you thought? Share your thoughts below on the win likelihood above and whatever else you'd like regarding the Syracuse football schedule.