For the past few years, the ACC Atlantic Division has been a battle for fourth place between Syracuse, Boston College, NC State, and Wake Forest. Clemson, Florida State, and Louisville have been busy trading haymakers for the Atlantic’s spot in the conference title game while the other four programs could only watch.
Not this year.
Welcome to the ACC Atlantic, where up is down and down is up. Let’s review, shall we?
NC State, 4-0, is one of two remaining undefeated teams in league play. Miami sits atop the Coastal Division at 5-0. Clemson pays a visit to the Wolfpack this weekend in a crucial game for both squads. Of course, the Tigers already have a loss in league play…cough…Syracuse…cough. Boston College and all its Dudes are playing out of their minds on offense having dropped 45 points in a win at Louisville three weeks ago and then stomping a mud hole in Florida State before walking it dry last Friday to the tune of a 35-3 beat down. Not to be outdone, Wake thumped BC back in September before hanging 42 on Louisville in a ten-point win last weekend.
This brings us to the Orange.
Syracuse, 4-4, needs to find two wins in its remaining four games to obtain bowl eligibility. Visiting Tallahassee this weekend marks the end of a 3-game gauntlet that started at home against Clemson, continued at Miami, and comes to a close with a return to the Sunshine State after a week off. Normally, a tussle with the Seminoles usually results in a lopsided loss where the goal is to perform admirably without sustaining any injuries to crucial players. That was then, this is now.
The Orange has a real shot against FSU. The ‘Noles offense has been anemic thanks to some season ending injuries. So for the first time in a long time, Syracuse wields the bigger offensive stick in the form of Eric Dungey, Steve Ishmael, Erv Philips, and a little help from their friends. What can I tell you, #OrangeIsTheNewFast, as the kids say.
Florida State desperately needs a win as it travels to Clemson next weekend. But unlike in past seasons, this Syracuse team is brimming with confidence. And this season’s losses have been a bunch of should’ves: the Orange should’ve beaten Middle Tennessee, LSU, NC State, and Miami. Too many self-inflicted wounds. Not this time.
Dungey will get the offense cranked up after a bit of a slow start due to the bye week, the defense will continue to be masterful on getting off the field on third down, and, despite talent and speed galore, the Seminoles won’t be able to make enough plays to win.
In this up and down season, Syracuse moves a game closer to bowling.
Syracuse 24, Florida State 20.