In the latest edition of a multi-part series, editorial staff of The Juice Online discuss various topics on Syracuse athletics. Today’s topic: We’re less than a month away from the start of the 2016 Syracuse football season. What are your predictions?
Jim Stechschulte: Dino Babers’ first season at Syracuse comes with few certainties – a new offense that will go as fast as possible, a new defensive scheme, a few players who can be described as known commodities, and that’s about it. The returning players, even those known commodities, have to adjust to the new staff and their schemes while the incoming players also have to make those changes, as well as the jump to college or a new program (for a couple transfers).
As a result, the team should be a lot more exciting, but that will not translate to instant dividends in the win column. The team faces four teams in the preseason polls, including three in the top ten. Throw in all the changes and that schedule will be a bit off a slog for the Orange. Put me down for slightly sub .500 record with some hopes to be pleasantly surprised.
Wes Cheng: Let me first start off by saying that this, offensively, will be the most exciting season in Syracuse football season since Donovan McNabb was under center. The Orange will run plenty of snaps and, at times, put up large offensive numbers. But against better defenses and offenses, the Orange will look like exactly what they are: A school in transition to a new philosophy that is experiencing growing pains.
The adjustment to an up-tempo offense will not be easy. Trying to fit a disruptive scheme recruit into a Tampa 2 defense will be even more difficult. That will lead to losses against most “coin flip” teams. My wins will come from Colgate, UCONN (and even that is not a given) and a split between Boston College and Wake Forest. Expect excitement at first, just not the wins to go with it. But in Dino Babers’ system, just like Novocaine, give it time, and it will start to take hold in the second and third seasons. The results will come; SU fans just have to be patient. Mark my words: Babers is the right man for the job.