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Every 2020 Syracuse football opponent preview, all in once place

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Putting every link in one place so you don’t have to go searching for these.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 02 Boston College at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Despite plenty of reasons for hesitation, we went ahead and previewed all 12 Syracuse Orange football opponents for 2020 anyway. Of course we’ll have more once the season (hopefully) gets started. But with training camps starting to open up, this seems like a good time to start digging into every SU foe for the coming season.

Below, you’ll find links to all 12 Syracuse football opponent previews on TNIAAM, plus additional input on each team that I decided to call out. Click away in case you missed any of these. We’ll have position previews for both Syracuse and the ACC starting next week, too.

Week 1: at Boston College Eagles

Last year: 6-7 (4-4)

TNIAAM Boston College preview

Big takeaway:

The defense is a nice mix of experience and youth, and seven of the top seven tacklers from last year are back. Linebackers have long been a strength for Boston College’s defense and that seems likely again with starting linebackers all back and an NFL linebacker coach coming in the door. BC’s inability to generate a ton of pressure last year won’t be helped in the immediate term by senior departures, but there are enough returning players to pick up the slack.

Odds of Orange victory: 55%

Week 2: at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Last year: 2-10 (0-9)

TNIAAM Rutgers preview

Big takeaway:

There are a lot of players returning for Rutgers, so maybe my odds of victory seem a bit high. However, those players didn’t find much success last year — and as mentioned, they won’t really have the requisite time to implement the big changes (if the season starts on time). Maybe later in the season, I’d buy into Schiano’s potential to pick this team up off the floor of the Big Ten. But in week two, Syracuse should be a bit more of a cohesive group and a bit better prepared to take home a victory.

Odds of Orange victory: 70%

Week 3: Colgate Raiders

Last year: 4-8 (3-3)

TNIAAM Colgate preview

Big takeaway:

Colgate’s far too rough around the edges on offense to keep up with Syracuse, even if SU’s attack struggles to the same extent we saw in the early half of last year. Without the same shutdown defense the Raiders have had in recent seasons either, it seems unlikely they’ll be able to hang around vs. the Orange.

Odds of Orange victory: 98%

Western Michigan v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Week 4: at Western Michigan Broncos

Last year: 7-6 (5-3)

TNIAAM Western Michigan preview

Big takeaway:

WMU brings back a bunch on defense, so it seems unlikely the Orange are able to just slice through the Broncos like they did last season. However, replacing Wassink, Bellamy and Ricci is a tall order, even with Eskridge healthy. Even if their replacements can hit the ground running fairly quickly, a) keeping up with SU won’t be so simple and b) this is the end of a grueling September for them.

Odds of Orange victory: 67%

Week 5: Louisville Cardinals

Last year: 8-5 (5-3)

TNIAAM Louisville preview

Big takeaway:

Even if Syracuse’s defense finds itself improved from last year’s disaster, there’s just too many skill players back for Louisville to entertain an upset too much. The lone cause for hope could be that if the Orange offense gets back to what we knew previously under Dino Babers and Louisville’s defense gets even worse (not a stretch), we could just wind up in a shootout. It’s far more likely this just comes down to whether or not SU can stop the Cards’ run game or not. Unfortunately I’m not buying it.

Odds of Orange victory: 30%

Week 7: Liberty Flames

Last year: 8-5 (N/A)

TNIAAM Liberty preview

Big takeaway:

Syracuse has its own changes to adjust to, but has better talent depth to deal with that. A dual-threat QB for Liberty could make this one closer than we’re comfortable with. But the team isn’t loaded with the same level of playmakers on either side of the ball to make this as close as they did last season. The Orange should be able to take advantage of that en route to a comfortable win that hopefully leaves you more at ease than last year’s did.

Odds of Orange victory: 80%

Week 8: at Clemson Tigers

Last year: 14-1 (8-0)

TNIAAM Clemson preview

Big takeaway:

Clemson’s once again loaded with talent, and even if they have some key pieces to replace on both sides of the ball, Trevor Lawrence remains under center. Couple that with a depth chart full of blue-chippers, and it’s unfortunately easy to see how this one gets chalked up to a loss for Syracuse. With luck, we’ve stocked up enough early wins on the schedule that a defeat here doesn’t completely knock us off track.

Odds of Orange victory: 5%

Week 9: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Last year: 3-9 (2-6)

TNIAAM Georgia Tech preview

Big takeaway:

Georgia Tech is still in the process of digging out of the triple-option hole Paul Johnson put them in. So despite some promise displayed over the course of 2019, the Yellow Jackets are probably still a year away from putting it all together under Collins. Still, even if we expect a win, Tech is no easy out. Behind a solid offensive line, their ground game should remain formidable, which could cause some issues for a Syracuse team that’s struggled to stop opponents on the ground.

Odds of Orange victory: 60%

Wake Forest v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Week 10: at Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Last year: 8-5 (4-4)

TNIAAM Wake Forest preview

Big takeaway:

On the one hand, I think Syracuse should be improved from what we saw when these teams last faced off. But on the other, Wake loses a lot less, brings back the bulk of an aggressive defense (including an All-ACC guy like Basham) and should have the offensive play-making ability to take advantage of any rebuilding defense. Last time out, offense wasn’t the issue for either team, but I think the Orange D could be slightly worse.

Odds of Orange victory: 40%

Week 11: N.C. State Wolfpack

Last year: 4-8 (1-7)

TNIAAM NC State preview

Big takeaway:

Offensively, a lot is going to come down to the quarterback position once again. Both Leary and Hockman return (McKay has transferred to Montana State), and various freshmen like Ben Finley and Ty Evans figure to challenge them. Knight returns at running back, and you can bet the attack will lean a bit more heavily on him this fall. That’s easier too when they bring back nearly everyone on a line that was good enough to give up just 18 sacks last year. They also bring back nearly every top passing target save Tabari Hines (37 catches last year), which should set up whoever is under center with an experienced group to throw to.

Odds of Orange victory: 55%

Week 12: Florida State Seminoles

Last year: 6-7 (4-4)

TNIAAM Florida State preview

Big takeaway:

There are O-line questions, yes. But otherwise, this is a team that looks likely to improve quite a bit in 2020 and should have the coaching staff change to help get them there. Yes, SU’s own offensive line should be much improved this fall, yet I don’t see them being able to hold up against this defense. If the Seminoles are competing for more than eight wins by this point in the season, it’ll likely be due to the D and what should be a very formidable pass rush.

Odds of Orange victory: 20%

Week 13: at Pittsburgh Panthers

Last year: 8-5 (4-4)

TNIAAM Pittsburgh preview

Big takeaway:

On the other side of the ball, Pittsburgh brings back some of the league’s best defenders. Paris Ford had 97 tackles and 11 pass break-ups last year (3 INTs) and is arguably one of the ACC’s top two safeties. Defensive tackle Jalen Twyman was third in the conference in sacks with 10.5 last season and will team with edge rusher Patrick Jones (8.5 sacks) to contribute to a pretty impressive line. Damari Mathis also has All-ACC potential at corner, while the linebackers return a ton. This could once again be among the top 20-25 defenses in the country.

Odds of Orange victory: 30%