Welcome to the 2021 Syracuse Orange football season, As we get ready for Saturday night’s 7 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS Sports, it’s time to put away all the preseason talk and get down to business. SU’s season opener against the Ohio Bobcats is just hours away, so we’re making our picks for who comes away with a victory in week one.
TNIAAM’s staff makes its predictions below, and you can, too. The Orange are currently a half-point underdog at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Syracuse 33, Ohio 30
There’s been something about the public comments of Dino Babers this month which makes me believe he feels pretty good about his team heading into a crucial season. The head coach of the Orange seems a bit calm and relaxed and while he’s playing the quarterback deployment close to his vest he seems to truly believe in his squad after last season’s one-win disaster. Opening on the road is never easy and when people look beyond the MAC label they will see that this will be a challenge. I still expect to see a lot of the Orange running backs in this one and in the end I think it’s an interception from Duce Chestnut which seals the close victory for Syracuse.
Syracuse 27, Ohio 24
I don’t think that this game makes any Orange fan feel completely at ease with the direction of the Orange program in 2021. That said, any win over a solid MAC school is a good way to get the ball rolling, and I think Dino Babers has gotten his coaching staff to change enough that this is achievable. With the offense even slightly more efficient, the defense is able to be more consistent in the second half, especially against the run, which keeps this game lower scoring than other ‘Cuse contests. Sean Tucker and Cooper Lutz do well as a backfield duo, and while we don’t see Tommy DeVito unleash a deep bomb that connects, he puts up respectable numbers dinking and dunking the ball to Taj Harris and Chris Elmore. While this game almost assuredly comes down to the last possession, the Orange start the season with a much needed W.
Syracuse 28, Ohio 26
TBD if this winds up being a classic “dumb game” from Syracuse, but I’m banking on a weird one given how little we know about the Bobcats and how much is up in the air for SU. The Orange offense looks better, while the defense makes strides due to less time on the field. Turnovers wind up winning the day for SU as they survive some late hiccups to preserve a road win — even if it’s close enough that it fails to quiet critics at all when looking ahead to week two.
Syracuse 27, Ohio 21
Time to see what a full offseason looks like for this Syracuse team. No more excuses for new coordinators and new coaches. Is it a closer game than people would like? Yes. But this Syracuse team still has questions and may start slow, which wouldn’t be unexpected. Still, Syracuse’s new offense that has reportedly been modified to fit Tommy DeVito’s style should be in position to take advantage of Ohio through the air. While De’Montre Tuggle may cause the defense some problems, the SU offense has to dictate the game. I think they can, after getting their feet wet.
Syracuse 30, Ohio 20
After a full offseason we see what a healthy version of this team can do. They work Taj in the slot and Tucker gets his. Ohio works their ground game early but the defense adjusts and they hang on for a decent W.
Those are our predictions now let’s hear yours.
Who wins the 2021 season opener?
This poll is closed
Ohio and it’s hold onto your butts szn
Syracuse and we all exhale and enjoy the Labor Day weekend