The Syracuse Orange (1-2, 0-1) visit the UConn Huskies (2-1, 0-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. If you’re not heading down to PAWS ARF, you’ll be watching on CBS Sports Network. UConn opened as a touchdown favorite, but that line’s dropped to three or four points since then.
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 afternoon?
Syracuse 34, UConn 27
The offense keeps rolling and picks up a little steam, the defense kind-of-holds them. I don't know how a team that barely beat Maine and UVA as well as losing to Navy could put up 27 on our defense, but this is the Syracuse defense we're talking about and they will. On a bright note we'll see the offense against a defense we should be able to run around and doesn't want to play to our pace. I think as we're learning more of Baber's offense, that the consistency will come and we'll put some points on the board.
The Invisible Swordsman
Syracuse 38, UConn 30
Sorry, I am not buying UConn as a favorite in this game. Yes, SU has been historically awful on defense against a BCS Playoff contender and a team that should be in the top 25 when January rolls around. UConn is NOT a top 25 team and while I think our defense is a poop-covered tire fire stuffed inside a fireworks factory dumpster, I simply don't think the Huskies' offense will create the same level of carnage as Louisville and USF did over the past two weeks. QB Bryant Shirreffs is good, but not at the Lamar Jackson level. I also think SU's up tempo offense will have greater success against UConn's defense. 'Cuse scores more, allows less, and we walk away with a much-needed win before we make our (hopefully last) trip to The Meadowlands for our non-home home game against Notre Dame.
Syracuse 30, UConn 24
I feel like the key to this game is Syracuse getting the lead early. Unlike USF, the Huskies are not built to rally from behind. On the other side, UConn is going to want to slow the game down. A big key would be the Orange creating turnovers and generating more possessions for the offense. I'm looking for Erv Phillips to have a big game in his return to the Nutmeg State.
Syracuse 31, UConn 21
After games against CFP contender Louisville and a very good USF team, a trip down to The Rent is a nice respite. The Huskies are no pushover—I'm not sure if you guys have heard but they beat Houston last year (link to any No Escalators tweet)— but they're not on the same planet as the Cardinals, and while their defense may grade out slightly ahead of USF's, the offense is not going to put much fear in anyone. On the other end, I'm pretty confident that Syracuse's tempo will give UConn's defense trouble. Unlike the Bulls last week, I don't think the Huskies have an attack that will be able to catch up if Syracuse throws a quick 17 or 21 on the board.
I like Syracuse to pull even at 2-2, and ease the concerns of some of our more flighty fans this week.
Syracuse 30, UConn 26
I’ll be honest, UConn might be a "better" team, but Syracuse’s style creates a serious mismatch in this game. SU’s run nearly 200 plays over the course of the last two weeks. The Huskies don’t create turnovers, don’t rush the passer much, and also can’t play at pace. Getting an early lead will be key for the Orange, because UConn simply doesn’t have the personnel to play or score quickly. That doesn’t mean this will be an easy win. Just a game Syracuse has a built-in advantage in, if they choose to exploit it.
Syracuse 31, UConn 24
Some of this prediction comes from my that part of my brain that says, "Syracuse HAS to win this game, at least, right?" But I do think the SU offense has proven that, when not being maruaded by a solid defense, can make things happen. I think they'll finally get some opportunities today. Plus, we're not facing a dual-threat juggernaut on offense, which is nice. So our defense will give up points but nothing like what we've been seeing. There will be a bit more balance here and it's Eric Dungey's chance to prove that he's growing in this new system. I hope.
Now it's your turn...