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Pre-game jitters thread: Syracuse Orange (1-1, 0-0) vs. Clemson Tigers (2-0, 1-0)

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Is that excitement or dread? Your call.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Just two weeks ago, Syracuse Orange fans were envisioning a football team that stayed in or around the top 25 from wire to wire, maybe won nine games and was hoping College Gameday this weekend. A lot’s changed, but there’s still plenty out in front of SU, starting with a critical game against the No. 1 Clemson Tigers.

Because of the preseason hype around this one, however, kickoff won’t happen until 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC. So that leaves quite a bit of time for you to live/rake leaves/pick apples until it’s time for the proceedings to begin.

First up, some articles you’ll need to be ready for the game:

Also, since there are numerous college football games until our game starts later tonight, here’s a quick look at what you’ll likely be watching:

NCAA Football: Ohio at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

ACC games

Pittsburgh Panthers (1-1, 0-1) at Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0, 0-0), noon/ABC

Pitt QB Kenny Pickett sort of looks better throwing the ball this year, but that could also be because the run game’s not as good as it was last year. The defense will also have its hands full with PSU’s high-powered offense, which put up 79 points vs. Idaho, and 45 vs. Buffalo to start the year. Expect points, for the Nittany Lions.

N.C. State Wolfpack (2-0, 0-0) at West Virginia Mountaineers (1-1, 0-0), noon/FS1

State’s done what it needed to through two weeks, and West Virginia’s looked rocky to start Neal Brown’s tenure, squeaking by James Madison and getting thumped by Missouri. The Pack should be able to take this one, leaning on Zonovan Knight and the run game, as the defense shuts down the ‘Eers.

Furman Paladins (1-1, 0-0) at Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1, 0-1), noon/ACCN

Tech’s looked rocky on defense for over a year now, but at least should be able to take care of Furman. That said, the Paladins scored 42 on Georgia State last week, and the Panthers knocked off Tennessee the week before.

The Citadel Bulldogs (0-2, 0-0) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-1, 0-1), 12:30 p.m./ACCNX

Tech scored a surprising win against USF last week, and now gets to build on that by running through the Citadel in a game you can only stream. Cool.

Louisville Cardinals (1-1, 0-0) vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (1-1, 1-0), 4 p.m./Stadium

UL got by EKU with ease, and now they attempt the directional Kentucky sweep. WKU lost to FCS Central Arkansas in week one, then held on to beat a reasonably good FIU team. The Cards are very likely to win.

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (1-0, 0-0) at Miami Hurricanes (0-2, 0-1), 4 p.m./ACCN

Miami’s not as bad as the record shows, and this game should provide a nice rebound after back-to-back losses to begin the season vs. Florida and UNC, respectively.

Duke Blue Devils (1-1, 0-0) at Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (1-1, 0-0), 7 p.m./Facebook

Even if you did want to watch a college football game on Facebook, you’re not watching this one since it’s only 30 minutes before the Syracuse game. MTSU looked good vs. Michigan, then just okay vs. Tennessee State. Duke was predictably killed by Alabama, then won vs. NC A&T. Go with the Blue Devils, but it could be an interesting contest.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Elsewhere

Maryland Terrapins (2-0, 0-0) at Temple Owls (1-0, 0-0), noon/CBSSN

Temple’s offense looked good in week one, while Maryland’s has looked good in each of the last two weeks. It’s the Terps’ first road game. And while the Owls shouldn’t be as good as SU, how Maryland performs here may be telling about the Orange.

Stanford Cardinal (1-1, 0-1) at UCF Knights (2-0, 0-0), 3:30 p.m./ESPN

Odd series. Nonetheless, Stanford is looking to rebound after a big loss to USC, and UCF continues to collect disrespect like pogs. If the Knights have a strong showing here, they’ll have the inside track on the G5 New Year’s Six bid once more.

USC Trojans (2-0, 1-0) at BYU Cougars (1-1, N/A), 3:30 p.m./ABC

It would be VERY USC to drop this game after trouncing Stanford just last weekend. The Cougars are feisty, and we’ll see how Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis looks now that opponents will have actual game tape on him.

Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0, 1-0) at Iowa State Cyclones (1-0, 0-0), 4 p.m./FS1

The direct beneficiary of Syracuse embarrassing themselves last week, ISU gets to host College Gameday for the first time ever. Things were rough for the ‘Clones against UNI in week one. Iowa looks like they’re doing just fine, though, so expect the Hawkeyes to take El Assico for the fifth straight meeting.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles (1-1, 0-0) at Troy Trojans (1-0, 0-0), 6 p.m./ESPN+

You’ll spend a few minutes with this one, a matchup between two of the G5’s upper-crust programs in recent seasons.

Florida Gators (2-0, 0-0) at Kentucky Wildcats (2-0, 0-0), 7 p.m./CBS

Kentucky’s done what they needed to do vs. two MAC teams and the defense has held up enough. Florida’s a top-10 team, however, and would love to start a new winning streak against UK after the Gators’ 31-gamer was snapped last fall. Not a bad way to ease into the SU game.

Georgia State Panthers (2-0, 0-0) at Western Michigan Broncos (1-1, 0-0), 7 p.m./ESPN+

Or you could just go here instead and scout next week’s Orange opponent. GSU seems formidable enough this year, so WMU will be tested a bit and could even drop this one at home.

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What else are you watching? Share your late Gameday and afternoon game thoughts below. See you all for the GameThread this evening.