The Syracuse Orange (2-3, 0-1) head down to Winston-Salem, N.C. to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. We restate this information if only because you probably knew nothing about that with all this "roast" stuff going on this week. Wake opened as a three-point favorite, but the line’s sort of shifted to SU in recent days.
Here’s a game preview you can read, and here’s another you can listen to. Based on all of that, what does the TNIAAM staff think will happen on Saturday?
Syracuse 35, Wake Forest 28
The weather is of course going to be a factor, but less so with the dink and dunk game we've been seeing. The quick passing required by the conditions means some pressure will be lifted off the extremely young Syracuse offensive line and they put in a passable performance. We've seen the defense not look absolutely god awful against more methodical, less crazy explosive athletic offenses and I think we see that again. At the same time Wake isn't to be taken lightly, I don't think they bring quite enough on defense to handle the Syracuse offense.
Syracuse 31, Wake Forest 30
Maybe the prediction is too high for what could be a rough night of wind and rain, but even a sloppy field shouldn't slow the Orange for a full game. If Wake commits extra help to their corners, it should open up the running game for Syracuse and give room in the middle of the field for Phillips and Ishmael. I think the Syracuse defense is better prepared to contain Wolford than Hinton and it's just enough for the Orange to get back to .500.
Syracuse 33, Wake Forest 30
Wake Forest is definitely improved over the first few years of the #Clawfense, and have a nice win at Indiana, but overall the Deacs are still not a lot to write home about. The offense is upgraded but still mostly ineffective. The defense shuts down the run quite well, but hey, Syracuse can't run and doesn't try that hard to once that becomes obvious. If the cornerbacks are truly the weak spot of the Demon Deacon defense, I like Amba Etta-Tawo to do what he does, and maybe we continue to see Steve Ishmael get a bit more involved. Syracuse will give up points, but I think the Orange sneak out a tight win in Winston-Salem.
Wake Forest 34, Syracuse 31
Talk about being s**t out of luck. Syracuse's best facet of their game is their passing offense. Wake Forest's biggest weakness is their passing defense. Unfortunately for the Orange, the effects of Hurricane Matthew will most likely throw a wrench into the passing game on Saturday. With a forecast of rain and heavy winds that may surpass 40 mph, expect Eric Dungey and company to have difficulty passing the ball. While Wake Forest doesn't necessarily have a high-powered offense, the Demon Deacons do average 173.8 rushing yards per game. With the way the forecast looks, running the football looks like it could be the key to success Saturday – which is bad news for the Orange.
Syracuse 31, Wake Forest 27
Even when taking weather into consideration, Wake Forest’s corners are still bad, and that probably helps what Syracuse wants to do on offense. Expect a similar formula to what happened vs. UConn: establish an early lead, struggle through a quarter or two while the Deacs come back, then do enough at the end to secure a win. It’s far from a stress-free formula, but it’s one that will work on Saturday against a team that can’t run with the tempo of Eric Dungey and the rest of this offense.
Wake Forest 24, Syracuse 21
Play this game in the Carrier Dome and I think we win no problem. Play this game in good weather on the road and I think we've got a good chance to win this game. But we're probably going to play this game in pouring rain and terrible conditions. This Syracuse team is made for domed stadiums and turfs. What happens when the ball is slick and we need to rely on the running game? I'm a little afraid to find out.
Now it’s your turn...