Ed. Note -- As has become (a beloved?) tradition, TNIAAM writers will spend the week telling you why this year’s Syracuse football team will finish with a specific record. Predictions get better as we progress, so hopefully you were done lobbing scorn at us by Wednesday or Thursday.
Monday: 5-7 (John)
Tuesday: 6-6 (Kevin)
Wednesday: 7-5 (Steve)
Thursday: 8-4 (Andy)
Friday: 9-3 (Some guy Sean)
Hi, I’m Sean Keeley. You may remember me from such predictions as Doug Marrone’ll Probably Be Here Forever and [Andrew] Robinson-to-[Mike] Williams Will Be The Best Tandem in SU Football History. So I know a thing or two about making smart and innovative guesses as to what’s going to happen. And folks, I’m here today to tell you that this Syracuse Orange football team is going to live up to the hype and finish the regular season 9-3, head to another solid bowl game, and give themselves the chance for back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time since 1991-92.
Yes, I know the S&P says Syracuse will end up around 8-4. And I’ve seen the data points that chart out how we’re just as likely to go 5-7 as we are to go 10-2. But I believe someone once told me that “stats are for losers” and I choose to believe in that wise individual.
at Liberty Flames: Sorry to not #StickToSports right off the bat but I really hate that we’re playing this game. I hate that this school is making money off of us. I hate that we’re legitimizing them by not only playing them but playing in their stadium. I hate that there’s a greater-than-zero chance that they could possibly upset us and then President Wet Noodles will tweet about it. There’s no margin of victory that will satisfy me, but I hope Dino tries. W, (1-0) (0-0)
at Maryland Terrapins: Ah, the rival I always wanted for Syracuse. It wasn’t to be, but I’m glad we continue to show up on each other’s schedules every few years now. Certainly, there’s a reasonable chance the Terps win this one, especially at home, but I’m going to #TrustTheProcess that Dino has this program on the next level. You know, the one where you win early season road games that could go either way because “you want it more” and you’ve “got more heart” or whatever. W, (2-0) (0-0)
Clemson Tigers: Okay. So. Like, I’ve been talking a lot of shit about this one all offseason long. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t actually expect Syracuse to make this a game. Why not? We beat them two years ago and we outplayed them for three quarters last year, almost stealing an upset in Clemson and shaking up college football history forever. As much as the Tigers are The Greatest College Football Team Ever Assembled or whatever, Dino and Syracuse have had their number as much as, if not better than, anyone the last few years. Give us a sold-out Dome with some potential College GameDay hype and the setting couldn’t be more perfect. But, of course, I can’t predict a win here. Because. Just because. No moral victories anymore, but if we can at least maintain our streak of making Clemson sweat down to the wire, it’ll be (mostly be) worth it. L, (2-1) (0-1)
Western Michigan Broncos: Remember this game last year? What a dumb football game. Eric Dungey rushed for over 200 yards and SU was up 34-7 when Tommy DeVito came in and SU crapped out, squandering the lead. Then Dungey re-entered the game and the Orange pulled away for a 55-42 win. It was a valuable lesson in not taking our foot off the gas and I’m guessing DeVito is looking for a little redemption this time around at home. He will get it. Oh hai, Tim Lester. W, (3-1) (0-1)
Holy Cross Crusaders: Syracuse fans know better than to guarantee anything but we’re going to win this game. You know it. I know it. Holy Cross knows it. Jesus knows it. W, (4-1) (0-1)
at N.C. State Wolfpack: NC State is back! Or were they already? Or is this their year? Or was that last year? Who the hell knows anymore. Syracuse is usually due for a loss-that-shouldn’t-have-been-a-loss-against-a-good-but-not-amazing-maybe-Coastal-Division-team and this is likely to be it (despite them being in the Atlantic). Sorry. L, (4-2) (0-2)
Pittsburgh Panthers: Sometimes that aforementioned loss comes at the hands of the Pitt Panthers (See: 2018) but I feel like our cap on those kinds of losses is one right now (in theory). Bank on Syracuse at home against anyone not named Clemson this season and that includes our friends from Western PA. Though, I do like that this #NortheasternFootball series has become an arms race. First one to 50 wins. W, (5-2) (1-2)
at Florida State Seminoles: Last year’s win over FSU was damn fun and cathartic. And we’d all love to think that things have flipped for good and we’re about to go on a tear of dominating them for years to come. Alas, the Seminoles reloaded in key areas quickly and, even though we should still be able to carve up that offensive line again, I’m not entirely sure it’ll be enough, especially on the road. L, (5-3) (1-3)
Boston College Eagles: Right about now you’re not feeling super-great about the 2019 season. We started out nationally ranked. We were supposed to have an outside shot at playing for the ACC Title (or something like that). And now look at us...1-3 in the conference. Out of the rankings. Out of contention. #FireDino. BUT...here’s the thing. We just went through a buzzsaw that included most of the best teams on our schedule, one after another. If we can come out of that 5-3, we’ve got some gravy ahead. It begins here with some guys being dudes being duds. W, (6-3) (2-3)
at Duke Blue Devils: The juggernaut that is Daniel Jones has moved on and not a moment too soon. Obviously, it’s always risky playing on the road and the Blue Devils aren’t exactly a bunch of slouches, but this Syracuse team *should* be able to grind this one out as they did against Maryland. W, (7-3) (3-3)
at Louisville Cardinals: Bobby Petrino isn’t exactly Greg Robinson but he certainly left Louisville in much the same shape Syracuse was in when GERG was finally shuffled loose. The Cardinals will probably get it together soon enough, but it’s not gonna be this year. And there’s no good reason we don’t wipe the floor with them at this point in the season. Papa Johns on us! W, (8-3) (4-3)
Wake Forest Demon Deacons: And just like that, the Orange are back where they were supposed to be. The only thing standing in our way from a 2nd place finish in the Atlantic is a win over Wake Forest, whatever that is. We should be firing on all cylinders at this point (barring injuries, knock on wood) so expect a big win in front of an excited Dome crowd that sends the boys off to a solid bowl game. The Motor City Bowl will have to wait another year. W, (9-3) (5-3)
Let’s presume things play out as expected. Clemson goes to the College Football Playoff. The Orange Bowl could presumably go to the winner of the Coastal Division, but, what if they’re like 8-5 or something corny (again)? Why wouldn’t Syracuse get the nod? Why the hell not, man.
9-3, Orange Bowl, and a possible 10th win for the second consecutive season. WHO DOESN’T TAKE THAT?
See you on the other side. G’Orange!