Item: The preseason No. 22 ranked Orange debut a week from Saturday, Aug. 31, at Liberty (6:00 p.m. ET / ESPN+), the first time SU has been ranked before a season got underway since 1998. In our final Part III, we take a look at games nine-13 in chronological order. Part I is here, and Part II is here.
One time Syracuse assistant coach under Paul Pasqualoni (1995-98), Steve Addazio has been a model of consistency heading into his seventh season at Boston College. He’s finished with identical 7-6 records in five of those six years, and it might have been a sixth last season if the Eagles (7-5 last season) First Responder Bowl game in Dallas against Boise State wasn’t canceled due to inclement weather. Seven win seasons and six bowl appearances notwithstanding, Addazio is looking to get the program to the next level, but like Syracuse, and Louisville, and Wake Forest, and the rest, Clemson stands in the way in the Atlantic Division. Speaking of which, BC plays Clemson the week before heading into the Dome and it will show with the Orange taking the opening kickoff drive down for a touchdown in three quick minutes, then subsequently hold off a late Eagles rally to win 30-23, the perfect tonic to head into the second open week of the season. (6-3, 2-3)
Will new starting quarterback Quentin Harris be ready for the job? Wasn’t the same sort of question being asked when the New York Giants zeroed in on Harris’s predecessor as the Duke quarterback, Daniel Jones, whom they ended up taking with the number six pick in the NFL draft to one day replace future Hall of Famer Eli Manning? Harris played in all 12 games for the Blue Devils (8-5) last season, and started three games when Jones was injured completing 50 percent of his passes accounting for 12 touchdowns (five rush/seven pass). When Syracuse takes the field at Wallace Wade Stadium, celebrating its 90th anniversary season, on Nov. 16, it will mark only its second game ever in Durham (1939), and a running game that accounts for over 250 yards on the ground, and a stout pass defense, two picks, will help lead to a 28-13 important ACC road victory. (7-3, 3-3)
It was just some 30 months ago that Louisville football was celebrating the Heisman Trophy won by sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson, despite losing the final three games of that season. A year later UL’s record dropped a game with a .500 finish in the ACC, and last year the bottom fell out with a 2-10 campaign and winless finish in the league, ending Bobby Petrino’s second go-round as Cardinals coach. Now Scott Satterfield has arrived after success at building tiny Appalachian State. After losing its first four ACC games against the ‘Ville, the ‘Cuse will win its second straight over the Cardinals 41-21. (8-3, 4-3)
We simply do not like the fact that the ACC moved the Wake Forest game to the regular season finale on Thanksgiving weekend, instead of B.C. A date with the Eagles each November should be the Northeast version (remember Dino Baber’s plea at a June football camp in Eastern Pa. to keep the best talent home so a Northeast-based school could contend with Southern schools for a national championship?) of an annual season-ending rivalry game in the ACC matching the following: Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia Tech-Georgia, Florida State-Florida, Louisville-Kentucky, UNC-NC State, and Virginia-Virginia Tech. The other final games each season should be Wake (7-6) against Duke, and Miami versus Pittsburgh – covering all 14 schools. With a chance to sweep November and attain nine regular season wins for the second straight year, the vocal crowd on Senior Day is treated to an encore performance by all three units in the 40-17 domination. (9-3, 5-3)
You better get used to the catchphrase, “They’re Grrrrrreat!” As in Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereal great. Because the new title sponsor of the Sun Bowl is…Tony the Tiger. Yes, you read that right. The game, which has benefited the El Paso community for over 80 years, is now known as the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, announced Tuesday (Aug. 20), replacing car maker Hyundai, and it’s to that far western Texas locale in an ACC Tier One bowl game that the Orange go to seek win No. 10 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1991-92. The opponent is an Oregon team that had a disappointing finish after being the pre-season pick to win the Pac 12 North Division, finishing behind Washington and Stanford, and tied with Washington State. Ducks heralded senior quarterback Justin Herbert is harassed by an angry SU defense all New Year’s Eve afternoon, while Tommy DeVito’s arm and a strong run game confuse Oregon’s defense. One last Andre Szmyt field goal for the season seals a 33-18 bowl victory and 10 win season in two of Baber’s first four seasons. Incredible. (10-3, 5-3)