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Syracuse football: predictions and poll vs. South Florida

Back-to-back winning seasons are at stake in Boca Raton.

Syracuse v South Florida Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange (6-6) and South Florida Bulls (6-6) will battle it out at the Boca Raton Bowl, with the sun already set in the Sunshine State Thursday night. Will SU pull out its 17th all-time postseason win? Here are our predictions:

Kevin: Syracuse 24, South Florida 23

It’s a sloppy game as the Orange offense tries to use the ground attack to keep the USF offense on the sideline. The Syracuse defense is controlling the game until a punt return gives the Bulls the lead. Dan Villari and LeQuint Allen bring the Orange down the field to close to one point and Coach Nunzio calls for the two-point play and an old Syracuse staple. Allen takes a wildcat pitch and runs the option - tossing the ball to Juwaun Price who runs it in for the winning two points.

Steve: Syracuse 21, South Florida 17

There’s no rhyme or reason as to how a defense that seems to have lost a bunch of folks on the two deep will keep South Florida at bay... but call it a gut reaction. I’m assuming the Orange offense will continue to consist of the ThunderCat and that we’re going to see the wild and wooly looks that we have the last three weeks. This is doubly true with the news that Garrett Shrader (and Carlos Del Rio Wilson) are both out. I don't think this one’s going to be pretty in any way shape or form, but Syracuse finds a way to go 7-6 on the year.

Mike: Syracuse 34, South Florida 28

I’ll go the opposite direction of my senior counterparts and predict a battle of two persistent offenses. The Orange offense should be slow and steady while the Bulls capitalize on chunk plays, but both will put on quite a show for the primetime crowd. SU will have to settle for a few field goals including on their final offensive series, giving USF one last chance for a game-winning drive. Instead, Alijah Clark seals the deal for ‘Cuse by picking off Byrum Brown - because c’mon, a Camden kid marking the transition to a Camden coach is the Hollywood ending Syracuse has been due for.

Dom: South Florida 24, Syracuse 20

I usually try to be the Orange optimist, but the main concern as Steve notes is figuring out how successful this offense can be against USF. The Bulls scored the fourth-most points in the AAC this season, but also gave up the fourth-most points. The key indicator: the Bulls gave up the most passing yards in the conference this season, but Syracuse may not be able to exploit USF’s main defensive weakness. SU’s own defense should still hold up fine, but does the Orange’s magic on offense cool off after the long hiatus?

Max: Syracuse 28, South Florida 24

If the ThunderCat offense found a way against Pitt, it can do the same against a South Florida team that allows 35.9 points per game. Both squads don’t have stellar resumes by any means, but if there’s anything the Orange can take away, it’s that they have much more experience playing under the national spotlight. Dan Villari and LeQuint Allen will create enough momentum on offense to put points on the board, and SU’s defense will capitalize when the Bulls are forced to stray away from their stout running game.

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Now, it’s your turn:

Poll

Who wins the game between Syracuse and South Florida?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    Syracuse wins and "2-0 Nunzio" t-shirts hit Manny’s for the New Year!
    (187 votes)
  • 17%
    South Florida wins and Orange fans are too busy looking at their new toys to be bothered.
    (39 votes)
226 votes total Vote Now