It feels like just yesterday that the Syracuse Orange were 4-0, we were getting votes in the polls and fans were entertaining insane ideas that we were going 10-2.
Nearly three weeks later, SU sits at 4-2, we have a much better idea of what this team is, and we’re probably scared stiff that wins No. 5 and 6, respectively, are going to be a bigger struggle than we’re anticipating. On the other hand, though, a seemingly weaker North Carolina Tar Heels squad comes to town on Saturday to potentially help us break out of this two-game slide.
Las Vegas expects something near a double-digit victory for Syracuse, which has yet to lose at home this year (knocks feverishly on wood). Over/under is 66.5, by the way, which is a major dice roll that probably goes down to the wire.
Before things kick off at 12:20 p.m. ET tomorrow from the Carrier Dome (or on Raycom Sports for those watching at home), the TNIAAM staff predicts what might happen in this one...
SU 35, UNC 17
The Tar Heels will get some points on the board because they have a decent running game and the Orange run defense has been like a sieve lately. However, UNC does not have enough talent to hold up a passing game against Syracuse nor do they have the defense to stop Dungey and co. This won’t be a blowout, but I wouldn’t expect a nail-biter either.
SU 34, UNC 20
Syracuse at home, after a bye week, everyone healthy? The UNC defense is pretty solid and they have a decent enough run game to make it interesting, but I think the Orange get out in front early and take care of business.
SU 40, UNC 14
I think UNC is tricky, in that their offense is terrible and their defense is actually pretty solid. However, the Orange special teams has been lights out at the Dome, and I’d love to see them absolutely pin the UNC offense consistently, setting up short fields for Dungey to take advantage of. If Dungey is healthy, this should be an early Orange lead that UNC can never recover from.
SU 31, UNC 27
It appears as though the Tar Heels aren’t very good, but it also has been a really strange couple of years for Larry Fedora’s team. In 2017, injuries decimated North Carolina in a way that totally derailed the season. Then, to start ‘18, Fedora had 13 players miss time due to suspensions. So, yeah, maybe UNC will finish with some ho-hum, forgettable 4-8 record, or maybe his team will start to finally gel now that it’s closer to full strength. I mean, what does anyone make of that narrow loss to Virginia Tech last weekend? Conversely, Syracuse was one fourth-down conversion or one fourth-down stop from beating supposedly the best team in the ACC, Clemson. Now, after a disappointing loss at Pitt, SU has the feel of a team that could rebound comfortably and continue its upward trajectory, or, given its long history, it could potentially face plant. The meat on the bone in this game is that North Carolina has struggled to run the ball outside of the game with the Hokies. While the Orange will still give up the usual head-banging big plays on D, probably at least one 50-yard run, it should have enough fire power to hold on for the extremely important win.
SU 31, UNC 23
I think the week off will help the Orange defense to do a better job against the run. Getting out to a lead will also help those efforts as it will force Carolina to throw more and that should lead to a couple of turnovers. A late UNC score makes this game appear closer than it is and the Orange get their 5th win.
SU 38, UNC 30
Following a well-timed bye week, I do like Syracuse’s chances to be healthy and focused for this home game as enter a pretty critical stretch in the drive toward six wins. Eric Dungey returns to form, accounting for three scores and looking far more accurate than he was versus Pitt. Moe Neal and Jarveon Howard lead a resurgent rushing attack. And the Orange defense bends quite a bit, but also takes advantage of the turnover opportunities the Heels seem to present with regularity to help lock up the win.
Now it’s your turn...
What will be the outcome of the Syracuse vs. North Carolina game?
This poll is closed
Syracuse wins going away and we’re back!
Syracuse wins by 1-10 points, and it’s fine
Syracuse loses and we just decide to close the comments for the rest of the weekend