The No. 12 Syracuse Orange (8-2, 5-2) would make a New Year’s Six bowl game if the season ended today. But it doesn’t, and they still need to play two more to make that happen. The first of those would potentially secure a spot there anyway, though, when SU plays the No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-0, N/A) on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
The line for this game has bounced around from nine points to 10.5 all week, and the latter is where it sits as of this writing (with the Irish favored by as much). But the Orange are 7-3 (or 8-2 depending on what you took vs. UConn) against the spread this year, so take some solace in that for now.
Everything kicks off at 2:30 p.m. ET from the Bronx (or NBC, for those of us watching at home). Before we get to Saturday’s action, though, the TNIAAM staff predicts what might happen in this one...
Notre Dame 34, Syracuse 28
I think this will be similar to the Clemson game. Syracuse will come out of the gates hot and take a quick double digit lead. Yet, the better defense will prevail. Eventually, Dexter Williams will help the Irish establish the run game and break down this Syracuse defense. It will be close but I see the Irish taking it after a late touchdown.
Notre Dame 27, Syracuse 24
No matter which way this game goes, it will probably be a nail biter. Both teams have the weapons to make this a contest, but Eric Dungey and the Orange offense have a particularly tough task facing off against the Fighting Irish defense. Notre Dame may be a bit overrated, but not enough to the point that they won’t take this game.
Notre Dame 38, Syracuse 35
I’m chalking this one up to a loss, when trying to look at it rationally. That mean’s we’ll likely blow the doors off and score 50... The ND ground game scares me, probably more than it should. Book doesn’t terrify me, probably less than he should. I see ND eeking out another close loss for the Orange, who put up a damn valiant effort, but come up just short.
Syracuse 31, Notre Dame 28
The Fighting Irish will have an advantage in the amount of fans that will be at Yankee Stadium. But this is a neutral site game and a perfect opportunity for Syracuse. And for that, there are two potential reasons for an Orange upset victory. First of all, Syracuse has won four straight and has done so through the air and, just as importantly, on the ground. Dino Babers showed in games against Wake Forest and even against Louisville that his offense can still function if the passing game isn’t there. Meaning that if it’s outdoors and not the best conditions, the Orange should be able to move the ball on the Notre Dame defense. Lastly, Syracuse has the best special teams in the country. That could mean some perfectly placed punts or a couple of critical field goals going the Orange’s way. For all of those reasons, and because it truly feels like something special is happening here, Syracuse eeks out a close one and in doing so vaults into the top eight or so in the country.
Notre Dame 31, Syracuse 27
Syracuse isn’t scared by Notre Dame’s defense, as they hung 24 points on a better defense earlier in the year. However, I do think that Notre Dame’s offensive attack may be better than Clemson’s, especially if Ian Book is healthy. Let’s assume the Orange can stop the run occasionally; they’re going to need to then limit a somewhat mobile QB, something they’ve struggled against. Ultimately, ND’s offensive attack pushed the defense’s linebackers the most, an area ’Cuse has struggled with all year. Special teams keeps it close, but ’Cuse chases the game late instead of holding on to a lead.
Notre Dame 35, Syracuse 30
It won’t be easy for Syracuse to pull off the upset, but the opportunity is there. I think the Orange offense will need to play at a high level and finish drives with touchdowns not field goals. The return of Ian Book gives the Irish more balance on offense and I think they lean on the run to control the tempo and escape from New York with a narrow win.
Notre Dame 44, Syracuse 34
The Irish can run the ball well and defend the pass even better. Those are typically good ingredients to beating Syracuse (and they will be today), but that doesn’t mean the Orange make it easy for them. SU special teams plays a key role, and Eric Dungey is able to make some key plays to keep Syracuse in it. But at some point, Notre Dame realizes the same thing Pitt and Clemson did: Just hand the ball off at the end of the game. Unfortunately for us, Dexter Williams has an absolute field day, especially in the second half.
Now it’s your turn...
What will be the outcome of the Syracuse vs. Notre Dame game?
This poll is closed
Syracuse wins AND PEACH BOWLLLLLLLLLLL
Syracuse loses and we’re bummed but this is still a great season