Way too early 2019 Syracuse Orange football predictions

Wagner2018_12_dogpile
Syracuse plays against Wagner. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

Syracuse won the 2018 Camping World Bowl, defeating West Virginia in an entertaining back-and-forth contest, 34-18. Now that SU’s offseason, and the New Year, has officially started, it’s time to look forward to the 2019 season with our ‘Way Too Early Predictions.’ The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman and Wes Cheng give their predictions below.

BRAD BIERMAN (2018 Season Predictions, 10-3): To put it simply, Syracuse is a “football school” again.

The scene in Orlando on TV for the Camping World Bowl with a sea of orange facing the cameras and the Orange rallying to win a back and forth game against the Big XII’s West Virginia with a fourth quarter scoring blitz, was the equivalent of a “Chamber of Commerce” picture postcard of the program’s current status:. Orange Nation coming out in droves to support a 10-3 football team.

And the best is yet to come, thanks to the winning foundation Dino Babers and this year’s departing class of players hand-crafted along with so much returning talent, and a favorable 2019 schedule.

With a softer September of non-conference games at Liberty and Maryland, and hosting Holy Cross and Western Michigan, we see SU going 4-0 in those games, with a yet-to-be determined ACC game or open week also in the September mix.

The league rotation has B.C., Pitt, and Wake Forest also at the Dome, where SU will look to extend a six game winning streak, and we see a sweep adding up to a predicted seven victories.

The much anticipated visit from national finalist Clemson (please ACC, don’t be greedy and put that game exclusively on the new ACC Network), figures to be the most highly anticipated football game on campus in quite some time.

Even with a loss to the Tigers, the Orange, will win conference road games at Louisville, and Duke but fall at Florida State and N.C. State to finish 9-3, and be bumped out of the New Year’s Day Six bowls and settle for the Tax Slayer Bowl in Jacksonville where it will knock off Auburn.

» Related: Eric Dungey takes in, and provides, a memorable final game at Syracuse

WES CHENG (2018 Season Predictions, 9-4): Syracuse’s schedule in 2019 is the most favorable it’s been since perhaps the 2010 season, when the Orange’s non-conference slate was Akron, Washington, Maine and Colgate, and the Orange faced just one ranked opponent (No. 19 West Virginia) all season.

In 2019, SU’s schedule sets up similarly, with four non-conference games they’ll be favored in, and only one team (Clemson) that is a lock to be a top 25 team. With that in mind, here is how I think the season plays how for the Orange:

Non-conference:
@Liberty: W
@Maryland: W
Western Michigan: W
Holy Cross: W

ACC away games:
@Duke: L
@FSU: W
@Louisville: W
@NC State: L

ACC home games:
Boston College: W
Clemson: W
Pitt: W
Wake Forest: W

Bowl Game (Orange Bowl):
Michigan: L

The tough game for me to call is the Pitt game. Though the Orange should be favored, especially at home, SU has always struggled against the Panthers.

That said, I’m going to call an upset of what will likely be a top 5 Clemson team at home and wins in coin flip games against the aforementioned Pitt, Boston College and Wake Forest with the Carrier Dome crowd behind them. I do think that Syracuse loses a pair of ACC games on the road at NC State (despite the loss or Ryan Finley) and Duke in its Coastal crossover game.

I have Syracuse at 10-2 in the regular season, and a bid to the Orange Bowl in which they will face the Michigan Wolverines, who have once again fallen just short of the College Football Playoffs. I am, however, predicting a Wolverine win down in Florida that results in another 10-3 season for Syracuse.

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