Syracuse plays at home for the first time this season, hosting defending national champion Clemson (7:30 p.m. ET/ABC). Ahead of the game, The Juice Online’s Steve Auger and Brad Bierman give their predictions below.
STEVE AUGER (Season Record 0-0): Back when Syracuse upset Virginia Tech in the Carrier Dome and Dino Babers became an internet sensation with his postgame locker room speeches, he mentioned the kumbaya talks the team had leading up to that game.
Given how the Orange has started this season – and fresh off getting drubbed at Maryland – Babers might want to employ that strategy again as mighty Clemson comes knocking on Saturday night.
The Tigers ooze NFL talent at seemingly every position. Some GMs are certainly plotting on how to tank next year in order to land the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft; aka The Trevor Lawrence Lottery. Yes, beating the Tigers will be an Empire State Building tall order for the Orange. And no, they don’t have the luxury of sneaking up on anyone this year given the pre-season hype and expectations.
Syracuse is far too talented to have struggled offensively at Liberty and then have their doors blown off against the Terps. Their skill positions haven’t been this talent-laden since Donovan McNabb and his friends were hanging 66 points on the Miami Hurricanes. And Babers and his staff are legit. They will have this team prepared.
While I expect Tommy Devito and the offense to land their share of hay makers and for the defense to make life challenging for Lawrence, Clemson’s talent will carry the day in a 38-24 win.
BRAD BIERMAN (Season Record 1-1): It was when the Terrapins promptly marched 67 yards in just five plays in 97 seconds en route to a 63-20 demolition of the Orange that we knew that this edition of the 2019 Syracuse team had a long way to go to match its 2018 predecessor.
Growing pains with quarterback Tommy DeVito still learning the nuances of the speed and flow of the game was expected, with DeVito in just his second career start after the graduation of longtime quarterback Eric Dungey, but to see the defense being shredded with self-inflicted mistakes (and Lou Groza award winner Andre Szmyt missing a PAT?) is another.
How much can Syracuse really fix in one week, even with the idea that the Orange will pull out all of the stops (honoring SU legend Tim Green at halftime, Orange homecoming and a sold out Dome)? The big difference between the last time the Tigers (15-0) played in the Dome in 2017 and this season is Trevor Lawrence.
Playing in a Saturday night ABC primetime game is exactly the atmosphere Lawrence shines in, and this game will be no different. SU will give CU a game for three quarters before the Tigers pull away 38-24.