The Syracuse Orange (1-1, 0-1) host the USF Bulls (2-0, 0-0) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. If you’re not at the Carrier Dome, you can watch it on ACC Network Extra. South Florida is a double-digit favorite, and unfortunately has an offense that looks a whole lot like Louisville’s.
USF 45, Syracuse 38
This is one of those games that you hate to try and call. I think the offense keeps improving and the defense comes around a bit. The Bulls don't have the same high powered attack as the Cardinals, but Flowers can play a good impression of Jackson-Lite and they can definitely put points on the board. His arm isn't the same but his feet are great and there's talent in that offense that can play. If our defensive backfield can make things happen, who knows, but as it stands I'll chalk up an "L."
The Invisible Swordsman
USF 52, Syracuse 38.
Okay, I admit I was waaaay too optimistic with my prediction last week, figuring the Orange would stay close but ultimately lose in overtime for a "statement loss". Oh, we made a statement alright, though it was the kind that we used to make between 2005-2008...ugh. I am now in that same mode with SU football that I was with the beginning of Season 4 of "Homeland": Things went off the rails, the whole plot was a mess, and I was wondering "what the hell am I doing here anymore?"
I had serious doubts, but I was invested in the promise of the show, and so I stuck it out and lo and behold the storyline eventually found itself and second half of the season actually was very entertaining! Similarly, I am too invested in the promise of our team and am going to stick this one out too still thinking we are going to walk away from this entertained and optimistic with the future. But like Homeland, I don't anticipate things to fall into place right away...certainly not against an underrated USF team that could do the same kind of damage this weekend that Louisville did last weekend. The offense will continue to improve and put points on the board, but we're too much of a tire fire on D to allow us to win this track meet.
USF 51, Syracuse 38
Plan your runs to the concession stand/kitchen wisely because the points are going to come quickly again this week. I think it's going to be too hard for Syracuse to overcome the injuries in the secondary to win this game, but I expect to see a lot more from the Orange offense. It's going to be really odd for Syracuse fans to leave a game losing to an AAC team, yet feeling good about the direction of the program. I think this weekend shows the potential of the Babers offense and hopefully convinces the fans to remain patient.
USF 48, Syracuse 31
For all of those Syracuse fans who considered this game an "easy win" after Colgate, boy are you in for a show. One week after facing a high-powered offense led by a dual-threat quarterback, Syracuse will once again face a high-powered offense led by a dual-threat quarterback. Only instead of Louisville and Lamar Jackson, Syracuse will have to deal with their (slightly below) carbon copy counterparts in USF and Quinton Flowers. While Eric Dungey and company will be able to put up points, they won’t be able to keep pace with USF.
USF 48, Syracuse 34
Getting a dose of a real defense last week was rough. But it may pay some dividends this week for Eric Dungey and the rest of the Syracuse offense. While the Orange should be able to score, despite a lack of a running game, the defense simply won’t be able to stop the Bulls enough to grab the win. Things will stay fairly close, and I’d be willing to bet SU is within 10 for a decent amount of time. But when the pressure gets put on our secondary, there’s simply no way we’ll be able to make the necessary stops against Quinton Flowers. It won’t be a moral victory, but I’d consider it another building block in this season full of them.
USF 48, Syracuse 31
Here’s the thing about Louisivlle’s 62-point output. It was back-loaded with garbage time scoring. In reality, it was more like they scored 48 and then just kept tacking it on. So while it’s possible more teams will score 50 or 60 points on us this season, I think it’s still the exception. That said, with Quinton Flowers and USF’s offense, they’re going to score points. This time I think our offense is able to keep pace a little better, but it’s still not enough to keep up. Baby steps.
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