With the start of the Syracuse football season less than two weeks away, we chatted with Stephen Bailey from 247 Sports and CuseNation.com to get his take on the upcoming season on this week’s The Juice on the Cuse Podcast, presented by SNY.tv.
Strictly looking at the roster, there is reason to be optimistic about the upcoming season.
“On paper, this one of the two most talented teams of the Dino Babers era,” Bailey says. “The top 12 guys on this team are really, really good players. They are potentially NFL type players.”
Bailey pointed to depth at the offensive line, linebacker, quarterback and secondary as reasons why the Orange will be more competitive this season. And of course, there is All-American running back Sean Tucker.
“They might be able to survive the natural wear and tear that they’ve had in the past,” Bailey says. “There’s some depth there.”
But while SU will put a better product on the field this season, it may not translate into more wins. Vegas odds put the Orange at 5.5 wins, which is in line with how Syracuse finished the 2021 season (5-7).
That’s beacuse Syracuse plays a four-game stretch from Oct. 15 to Nov. 5 where they play four preseason top 25 teams in NC State, Clemson, Notre Dame and Pitt.
“It’s going to be close (for a bowl game),” Bailey says. “That gauntlet at the end of the season, that’s tough. They need to start 4-1 to really go into that stretch feeling really good. That means you have to win two of three of Virginia, Louisville and Purdue.”
The Orange will need significant improvements in the passing game, which finished at the bottom of the ACC last season. But second year starter Garrett Shrader has had an opportunity to work with new offensive coordinator Robert Anae for the entire spring and summer practices, and Shrader has appeared comfortable with the offense at practice, Bailey said.
The other question will be the defensive line, which lost three starters and its top five players from the 2021 team. While there’s talent there, there’s also plenty of inexperience.
“Syracuse says they’re ready,” Bailey says. “We’re going to find out in a couple of weeks.”
Afterward, TJO Senior Columnist Jim Stechschulte then calls in to do a position-by-position breakdown, and gives his predictions on whether SU can make a bowl in 2022.