Syracuse has surged to a 6-0 start and is currently 14th in the country in the AP and Coaches Polls. But the second half of the season gets significantly harder.
Here is the ranking of their six remaining games from most winnable to least, as Syracuse tries to defy the odds during the toughest stretch of their schedule.
1. Boston College
At 2-4 on the season, Boston College is definitively the most winnable remaining game for Syracuse this season in the very last game of the regular season on Nov. 26.
The Eagles have won one game in the ACC this year, securing a 34-33 win at home against Louisville. Besides the Cardinals, BC has not played competitive conference games against Virginia Tech, Clemson, or Florida State.
BC quarterback Phil Jurkovec has 1,300 passing yards in six games, but he’s been inconsistent. After he threw for 304 yards against Louisville, he followed that performance by just 108 passing yards against Florida State.
Boston College is 224th in college football with 20 points per game, while Syracuse is sixth in the country with 13.2 points per game allowed. This combination trends toward a very winnable game.
2. Florida State
After a Week 4 win against Boston College, Florida State was 4-0 and ranked No. 23 in the AP Poll, the first time they appeared in the rankings in four years.
Since then, the Seminoles have dropped three straight, although against some of the strongest ACC teams in Wake Forest, NC State, and Clemson.
Despite the three game skid, the Seminoles have played well and down to the wire with these teams. Their offense is run-heavy and leans on sophomore running back Treshaun Ward, who with almost 500 rushing yards by Week 7 is already only 27 yards from breaking his season total from last year.
Florida State allows 157 rushing yards per game, well outside the Top 50 in the country and one of the worst in the ACC. That could bode well for the Orange.
3. Notre Dame
Perhaps the most confusing team on this list is Notre Dame, who Syracuse will host after they play Clemson.
They were ranked as high as No. 5, but an infamous loss at Marshall dropped the Irish to 0-2 and out of the top 25.
Things seemed to improve for head coach Marcus Freeman, with Notre Dame winning three in a row, including against No. 16 BYU. But then the Irish inexplicably lost to Stanford, 16-14, which gave Stanford their first FBS win in a year.
At just 23.7 points per game, the Irish offense ranks 181st in college football. QB Drew Pyne is struggling with under 900 passing yards on the year, not even in the top 100 for quarterbacks.
The Syracuse defense that is top 10 in almost every defensive stat along with what should be a very loud JMA Wireless Dome may not bode well for Notre Dame.
In Week 10, Syracuse travels to face Pitt in what could be a tough contest for the Orange. The Panthers are currently 4-2 and have looked like two different teams depending on the week.
Their loss to Tennessee is understandable, but their loss to Georgia Tech was not. Despite these losses, Pitt has looked strong in wins against West Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Averaging just over 430 yards per game, their offense is explosive and can attack in multiple ways. Senior QB Kedon Slovis has thrown for over 1,000 yards, and their defense is just outside the top 25 in yards allowed per game.
If Pitt plays up to their ability, this road matchup for the Orange presents a challenging test.
5. Wake Forest
In November, Syracuse travels to Wake Forest to play the second toughest remaining game on their schedule.
The Demon Deacons’s one loss came in a double OT game against Clemson, which was a back and forth offensive affair that came down to the wire.
Wake Forest has one of the best offenses in college football, averaging a remarkable 41.2 points per game. Junior Sam Hartman has thrown 16 TDs already this season and averages 9.4 passing yards per attempt.
On the other side of the ball, Wake’s defense allows the fourth most yards per game in the ACC. However with their dominant offense, a lot of their wins have resulted in blowouts.
The combination of a road game and Wake Forest’s high-powered offense makes this a difficult game to win.
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The most challenging game left on the 2022 Syracuse football schedule happens to be their next, in a week 8 matchup against Clemson in Death Valley.
At 7-0, Dabo Swiney has turned around Clemson from last season, where a victory in the Cheez-it Bowl and not a trip to the CFP was considered a down year.
Swiney and his staff has done so with keeping faith in their second year QB DJ Uiagalelei, who has taken off in his sophomore year after struggling as a freshman. With over 1600 passing yards and 17 TDs already this season, Uiagalelei is finally tapping into his potential.
The Tigers only allow 19.7 points per game, the third best in the ACC. Their consistent defense allows for their offense to control the game and ultimately be too much to handle.
For Syracuse, the challenge will be keeping up with the offense of Clemson. They will have their work cut out for them this weekend with the toughest game of the season.
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