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Syracuse football: TNIAAM staff predictions for 2017

Who thinks we’re going bowling and who’s a #disloyalidiot?

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, we took a look at how the Syracuse Orange could have any record ranging from 3-9 all the way to 7-5 for 2017. Hoya Suxa also gave you a tool to try it out for yourself using win probabilities. And even my dog James gave it a shot (he said 8-4 again and you’re not changing his mind).

Now with all of that over, we can tell you what we actually think will happen. Below you’ll find TNIAAM staff predictions for Dino Babers’s second Orange football campaign.

Andy Pregler (5-7)

Look, I think there's a solid chance that 6-6 is on the table. But that requires luck and health, something Syracuse football does not seem to have in spades going on past years. The team has so little depth at key positions, they're going to need to hope injuries area not a major factor through their gauntlet of an ACC schedule. With 5-7, I'm not sure they make a bowl, but if they were to, I'd guess barring season ending injuries, a rested Babers team would be a handful for anyone.

Steve Haller (6-6)

This year I'm feeling ambitious. My head is screaming 5-7, losing the "swing" games at NC State and versus Pitt. My heart says Dino and Company find out how to stay healthy and let the offense settle in to a good spot, stealing one of those two for a 6-6 finish. Or they could do it the most Syracuse way possible, missing wins against those two and knocking off Clemson at home.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Invisible Swordsman (6-6)

It's well documented that Dino Babers has seen a big improvement in year two at both Eastern Illinois and Bowling Green. Competing in the MAC can't compare to playing the nation's toughest schedule within the nation's toughest conference within the nation's toughest division. But the reality is that Syracuse WILL be a more dangerous opponent in 2017. CCSU, MTSU, Central Michigan, BC and Wake Forest will be victories, and I HAVE to think SU will spring a mild (Pitt) to major upset against one of their remaining opponents. There is a signature win in there somewhere, and we're in for a hell of a ride regardless.

Kevin Wall (5-7)

I think the Syracuse defense is going to force more turnovers, and that's going to help the Orange get out to a good start. Unfortunately the combination of a brutal schedule stretch and the uncertain health of the offensive line is going to make October a rough month. Look for Syracuse to bounce back in November with wins over Wake and BC. If the Orange want to make a bowl game, I think a 3-0 start is a must.

Michael Lehr (6-6)

I believe in Dino Babers' ability to turn a team around in two years. SU is going bowling and finishing 6-6 (but nothing too crazy). They start out the season rolling through the first three, get demolished at LSU and take a close loss to NC State. Pitt is the win that makes the difference, and the team will know that going in. Clemson, Miami and Florida State go as expected (not fun) and the Orange head into the final three games needing two wins for a bowl guarantee. Dungey has his best game of the year against Wake Forest and earns a W, Lamar Jackson runs the table and hands SU the loss in Louisville. Boston College comes to the Dome and the Orange absolutely pick them apart (see: Zaire Franklin fighting for one more game). See you at the Quick Lane Bowl.

Adam Hillman (6-6)

Still porous defense, and a high-flying offense. The Orange should have enough power to win the first three games, but the stretch of LSU, (CFP-bound?) NC State, Pittsburgh, Clemson, Miami, Florida State will most likely determine the fate of Syracuse’s season. If they can come away with two wins, 6-6 can happen. Yet, all six of those teams are quality opponents. Hot take: Eric Dungey stays healthy for enough of the season to lead them to .500. A revenge W over Pitt is what gets them back to bowling.

John Cassillo (6-6)

Not sure why I end up being among the more optimistic of us here. But stranger things have occurred. As mentioned numerous times, there should be five wins on this schedule, and then Dino’s team needs to pull off an upset to get six. That upset’s probably Pitt (who I always think is overrated, but especially think so this year), which would be a nice change of pace from our recent history with the Panthers. Enjoy the Quick Lane/Gasparilla Bowl with all of your heart. It’s the icing on an offensive record-filled cake this year.

How about you? Postseason: Yay or nay? Vote below and toss your rationale in the comments.


Is Syracuse making a bowl game?

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