Syracuse Orange v. Clemson Tigers Prediction & Preview (10/24/20)

Dabo Swinney
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney delivers remarks during a celebration for the 2018 NCAA College Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers Monday, January 14, 2019, in the East Room. Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian.

Syracuse appears in for a lopsided loss when it travels down to South Carolina to face Clemson (12:00 p.m. ET / ACC Network) on Saturday. Ahead of the game, The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman and Wes Cheng give their predictions below.

bradBrad Bierman
Season Record: 2-0

With all the understood talk of a record-level point spread for this game (46 as of Thursday and no posted money lines), the most important aspect for Syracuse in this mismatch against No. 1 Clemson (0.6% chance to win according to ESPN’s Power Index) is to limit injuries.

There’s five ACC games after the ‘Cuse provides Clemson its latest tune-up Saturday, until a trip to Notre Dame appears Nov. 7 on the Tigers schedule.

Dino Barbers will need enough healthy bodies to add wins to the 2020 record, with an eye on upcoming home games against Wake Forest, Boston College and N.C. State, as opposed to road games versus the Tigers, Louisville, and the current No. 3 ranked Irish.

If Rex Culpepper gets hurt a true SU freshman will step on the Memorial Stadium field for his collegiate debut. If one of the already young group at linebacker and in the secondary has to come off the field, there’s more uncertainty and inexperience among the Orange reserves.

Clemson has won each of it five games by an average of 36-points, able to rest starters during the second half of the blowouts, and that doesn’t figure to change this week.

As for the challenge that an undermanned and less skilled Syracuse squad faces, well let’s just say the outcome Saturday is more likely to resemble the 1983 Nebraska game in Lincoln (63-7), than the monumental 17-9 stunner against the top-ranked Huskers a year later in the Dome. Dabo Swinney’s crew has fun in a 52-7 rout of Syracuse.

» Related: Syracuse falls to the bottom of the ACC Power Rankings after loss to Liberty

wesWes Cheng
Season Record 2-3

After watching Clemson destroy George Tech by 67 in Atlanta last Saturday while Syracuse was being picked apart at home, it’s not too surprising to see the Orange open as 44.5-point underdogs to the Tigers as they travel to South Carolina this weekend.

The Orange’s run defense has been particularly vulnerable this season with injuries to several key players and the typical adjustments to a new defensive scheme, which has been implemented on the fly without the benefit of a full spring or summer practice.

That’s led teams like Liberty to gash the SU defense, with the Flames rushing for 338 yards in a 38-21 rout of the Orange at home last week. All due respect to Shedro Louis who had 170 yards and two touchdowns, but he is not Travis Etienne, who has already rushed for 436 yards and five touchdowns. It’s painful to think about what Etienne will do to the SU defense on Saturday.

And of course there is Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, a sure-fire NFL first round draft pick who has already thrown for 1,544 yards and 15 touchdowns in what should be his final year with the Tigers.

Clemson is giving up just 12.0 points per contest this season, and that average should dip even more with Syracuse in town. This will be over early in a 63-3 win for the Tigers.

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