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Syracuse football 2016: Why the Orange will finish 7-5

Why can't us? And by us I mean SU.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Ed. Note - This week, TNIAAM writers are taking a stab at telling you why this football team will finish with a specific record, so don't get all huffy about this prediction. Yet.

Monday: 3-9 (Suxa)

Tuesday: 4-8 (James)

Wednesday: 5-7 (Ari)

Thursday6-6 (John)

Friday: 7-5 (Sean)

I don't quite know why I do this to myself but I always like to do the most positive outlook each year for these predictions. In 2014, I had the pleasure of predicting a 9-3 record (which didn't quite pan out). Last season, I spelled out how SU could find it's way to a 7-5 finish (which they did not).

This year, we're topping out in the same spot. Seven wins, five losses. Given the expectations for a team coming off a 4-8 season with a first-year head coach running brand-new offensive and defensive schemes with a schedule that includes three Top 10 preseason opponents, you might say it's far-fetched.

I say I can show you the way.

Colgate Raiders: Thank goodness for small favors. The Dino Babers Era gets off to a great start as the offense gets a chance to show off what it's capable of. The defense works out some kinks and the whole thing is surprisingly over early in the second half. A sign of great things to come. Syracuse 38 - Colgate 17 (1-0, 0-0).

Louisville Cardinals: The Cards come into the game favored by ten points or so. On paper, there's no reason to think they won't handle the Orange. And yet, there's something cosmic in the air with Louisville and Syracuse. There have been multiple times in the last 10-12 years that SU has stolen a victory they shouldn't have been able to steal against L'Ville. And, shock of shocks, they steal one here as Louisville's offense has a terrible night and SU's offense is able to do just enough. Afterward, the Ernie Davis statue is torn down and the Dino Babers statue is erected in it's place. Syracuse 27 - Louisville 24 (2-0, 1-0).

South Florida Bulls: "THREE AND O. ONE YEAR!. THREE AND O! ONE YEAR!" We owe the Bulls one and we certainly can't follow up a win over Louisville with a loss to USF. What would John Swofford think? Syracuse 31 - USF 24 (3-0, 1-0).

at Connecticut Huskies: Wake up the echoes because Syracuse Football is alive and well. The Orange march into Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field and give the Huskies a good-old pratt & whitney right in their rentschler. Just like that, Syracuse is 4-0, receiving votes in the polls, and people are starting to wonder aloud if they've got a chance against the mighty Irish. Syracuse 28 - UConn 20 (4-0, 1-0).

Notre Dame Fighting Irish: They do not. Things come crashing down a bit as the Irish do what they do when we play them in New Jersey. They handle SU and prove that although the Orange are vastly improved, they ain't on that level yet. Notre Dame 35 - Syracuse 16 (4-1, 1-0).

at Wake Forest Demon Deacons: You know what the fun thing about beating Wake Forest every year is? Syracuse wins the game and finishes better off than the Deacons but because no one outside of Central New York and Winston-Salem watches, all of the national folks pick Wake Forest to do better than Syracuse come August 2017 and then we do it all over again. Syracuse 21 - Wake 18 (5-1, 2-0).

Virginia Tech Hokies: The Orange and Hokies meet for the first time as ACC foes (which is crazy) and VT picks up where they left off, beating SU. Because expectations for the Orange have shifted drastically, there are some boo birds in the Dome and someone calls in to ESPN Syracuse to say Eric Dungey needs to be benched. Let's see what this Austin Wilson kid can do. VT 34 - Syracuse 24 (5-2, 2-1).

at Boston College Eagles: Once again, the BC defense is stout. But this time, the BC offense is...marginally better. Then again, so is the SU offense, so SU ekes out another hard-fought win here and solidifies it's place in the ACC Atlantic mid-card and becomes bowl eligible with four games to go. Visions of Belk dance in our heads. Syracuse 18 - BC 14 (6-2, 3-1).

at Clemson Tigers: I'd love to tell you we march into Clemson, beat the Tigers, and celebrated like fools for days. One day, Orange fans. One day. But this is not that day. Clemson 34 - Syracuse 14 (6-3, 3-2).

N.C. State Wolfpack: Every year it seems as though some folks like NC State is going to put a lot of pieces together and usually that ain't the case. This is one of those. It's actually a good game but SU escapes with the seventh victory on the year. We're still not sure exactly how we got here. Syracuse 27 - NC State 23 (7-3, 4-2).

Florida State Seminoles: Again, there will come a time when the Orange dance on the Seminoles and we all go nuts while also being very respectful of FSU fans because they're the nice ones (Hi, Clemson). Again, this is not that time. FSU 42 - Syracuse 20 (7-4, 4-3).

at Pittsburgh Panthers: People are pretty high on Pitt this year and for once they might actually have a good reason for it. The Orange are jockeying for bowl seeding but Pitt's jockeying for a shot at the ACC Championship Game. That plus the home field advantage means Pitt takes the finale. Pitt 24 - Syracuse 21 (7-5, 4-4).


Not the greatest of finishes down the stretch but I'm willing to be you'd take this outcome in a heartbeat if I promised it to you right now. That feels like Pinstripe Bowl territory, which is perfect for this year, and it means the Orange are that much further along for 2017 when Dino really turns on the booster rockets.

Is this likely? Not, but then again neither was 8-5 in 2010 or 8-5 in 2012. Weird things happen in college football. Let's hope for weird, Orange fans.