Ed. Note — As has become tradition, TNIAAM writers will tell you all week why and how this year’s Syracuse Orange football team will finish with certain W-L records. These projections will be more pleasing as we go along and we will all give our actual predictions for the season next week.
- Monday: 4-8 (Christian)
- Tuesday: 5-7 (Kevin)
- Wednesday: 6-6 (Steve)
- Thursday: 7-5 (Dom)
- Friday: 8-4 (Mike)
- Saturday 9-3 (Special Guest)
I’m not quite sure what this record would bring in the grand scheme of things. 6-6 can mean a lot of different things on the “look test” and that would determine the trajectory of a bowl eligible Orange coming out of this year.
Colgate Raiders - Win (1-0, 0-0)
Dino actually gives his starters some rest in a blowout win in the Dome opener. Colgate doesn’t have remotely the legs to keep up with LeQuint Allen and company and the Orange head back to South Campus having taken care of business.
Western Michigan Broncos- Win (2-0, 0-0)
Looking comfortable again, Syracuse relatively walks to a win in this one. The starters come in after the half for a token performance, but a breakout day for Isaiah Jones cements his chemistry with Garrett Shrader and Carlos Del-Rio Wilson closes this one out.
at Purdue Boilermakers-Loss (2-1, 0-0)
One of the first tossups on the schedule, the trip out to Indiana doesn’t go well for the Orange. They hang in there for most of the game, but Devin Mockobee ends up breaking a late run on a gassed Orange defense to put the nail in the coffin against the Orange.
Army Knights- Win (3-1, 0-0)
Back to one game at a time, Syracuse rights the ship before the storm comes the next few weeks. A comfortable win at Army continues to build the depth on the squad and let the backups cook for a while. Orande Gadsden picks up a minor knock after being kept in late in the third quarter though and will have to sit the worst few weeks he could.
Clemson Tigers - Loss (3-2, 0-1)
The Clemson game is always a fun one to predict. This one’s at home on Homecoming weekend (for some reason) so there’s an added dimension to it as well. However with Gadsden down, the Orange can’t hold serve and get taken out by the Tigers in a very comfortable, but not quite a blowout win.
at North Carolina Tar Heels- Loss (3-3, 0-2)
Back to the Mendoza line for the season, as the Orange secondary only shows Christian’s favorite soft zone look in the first half and Drake Maye finds seams all day to hit his receivers. Thankfully Rocky Long adjusts and Syracuse holds it to relatively respectable, but the damage is done and the squad is headed toward mediocrity.
at Florida State Seminoles- Loss (3-4, 0-3)
This is the one that gets out of hand. After a few years of showing they’re not always the best around, the Seminoles get back on track in Tallahassee and send the Orange packing with their first blowout loss of the year. It’s the result of some nagging injuries to the linebacking corps and defense, as well as Jones going down, though somehow Shrader still remaining upright, reducing a roster to a size we’ve only seen in bygone years.
at Virginia Tech Hokies- Loss (3-5, 0-4)
Gadsden returns from his injury and the Orange look to be getting back on track, losing a nail biter to Virginia Tech on the road. Unfortunately it restarts Dino’s post bye week hiccups and Syracuse really needs to do something to get back on the wagon if they’re looking to head to a bowl.
Boston College Eagles- Win (4-5, 1-4)
Luckily for the Orange faithful, their old friends BC are coming to town. Syracuse, with a healthy receiving corps again, puts some numbers on the board. At this point, the Eagles are hovering near the tipping point of bowl eligibility and the BC offense can’t exorcize the ghost of Zay Flowers. The passing game sputters their way to a loss and sends them back to Chestnut Hill with their season in a spiral.
Pittsburgh Panthers- Loss (4-6, 1-5)
Hey, a home game against Pitt... 260 miles away from the Dome. The four hour and nine minute road trip to a home game doesn’t work well and Syracuse ends up falling to the Panthers in a game they should probably have won... again...
at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets - Win (5-6, 2-5)
Two games left and two wins needed to gain bowl eligibility. Syracuse takes to the road and Shrader takes to the air. In what’s a closer game than it should be on paper, LeQuint Allen takes a swing pass out of the backfield to finish the job in Georgia, keeping bowl hopes alive back home.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons- Win (6-6, 3-5)
In 2019 the Wake Forest game put a bow on the end of a “whelming” season and shined a bit of positive light on things. In 2023 it’s the same situation. Wake at home to close out the campaign. While the 2019 game didn’t result in bowl eligibility, this one does, as the Orange defense rallies behind what’s left of the home crowd and seals their Pop-Tart Bowl laden fate.
I don’t know if this is what I will project, I think I’ll be more optimistic in my actual preview, but this is a realistic path and one that while it may not overtly show progress, doesn’t show regression. Heading on the road to a P5 in the non-conference, as well as UNC on the road in the non-conference and a home game that isn’t at home isn’t a recipe for scheduling yourself to a bowl, but the Orange get there, overall pass the look test, and Dino gets a few more years on the contract to see if this snowball can catch fire.