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Jun
10
2016

State of the Program – Syracuse Football – A Q&A with @BH_Orange44

Previous State of the Programs

Virginia Tech | Georgia Tech | Boston College

SOPCuseNoBoxGood evening, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) sports fans.  We continue our state of the ACC football program series (Virginia Tech was a very recent post) – and this Friday, we continue with Syracuse.  We asked @BH_Orange44 to join us for a question and answer session on Orange football – and he was gracious enough to spend some time with us.  Brian Harrison is a 2005 Syracuse University Graduate – and a 2009 Western New England University Law School Graduate – he blogs about Syracuse sports at Orange 44.  Enjoy this Q&A!!

What’s the Season Outlook for Syracuse football?

Syracuse had a tough season last year. After rolling early, firing off three wins in their first 3 games, Syracuse proceeded to lose every other game on the schedule except their final tilt, who was hapless Boston College. They finished 4-8 (2-6). Again Syracuse lost starting QB Terrel Hunt, this time in the opening game. Again he was gone for the rest of the season. That left the Orange in another tough spot, scrambling to put in a competent player in the most important offensive position. Syracuse did what they could, and Syracuse played well, even against the likes of Clemson, but the results weren’t there. Scott Shafer was fired after his third year leading the program. Syracuse then made one of the best hires of the off-season in Dino Babers. An offensive guru, he had turned around Northern Illinois and Bowling Green before making his way to Central New York. Obviously his focus is making the offense a nightmare for opposing defenses, going no huddle, and basically making the offense go fast, fast, fast. Eric Dungey is the likely starter for the Orange at QB and should take all the playing time from last season and build upon it in this new system. Receiver Brisly Estime had a breakout junior season last year and should look to also do more this year. Syracuse Special Teams also looks strong with the return of Kicker Cole Murphy. The real question is who will step up on the defensive side, after losing most of their important players?

Key Orange to Watch

Eric Dungey is the key to Syracuse this season. With him goes the offense. He made some fantastic plays last season, but he was also injured and when he was out the offense clearly suffered. He is pretty smart with the ball, throwing 11 TDs with only 5 INTs. And when the ground games is able to take the pressure off of him, he can make some really excellent throws. Only a sophomore, he will have time to grow and master Babers’ offense and should keep Syracuse in some games this season.

Key Newcomer

Should something happen to Dungey, freshman QB Rex Culpepper may see some time. A highly recruited QB, he enrolled early to Syracuse and took place in the SU Spring Game. He even scored. Other than Culpepper, Freshman LB Kenneth Ruff also enrolled early so he may see the field on defense, but the defense is anyone’s guess right now.

Predicted Record and Finish in Conference

Syracuse, like they have the past several years, have a tough schedule. They again open up soft with FCS Colgate at home, but then their other non-conference games are against either teams in the American Athletic Conference, or Notre Dame. Key games on the schedule are at UConn in late September, Notre Dame in MetLife Stadium, and Pittsburgh to finish the regular season. Syracuse should be able to handle UConn, a team that Syracuse has never managed to beat in Hartford. If they play tough in that game and get a win will Syracuse be able to ride that momentum all the way to New Jersey to take on Notre Dame in front of a lot of alumni of both teams? Then, depending on if some surprises happen, will Syracuse possibly be playing for a Bowl berth against rival Pittsburgh in the final game on the road the weekend after Thanksgiving? However, I think adjusting to a new offense, and putting Babers’ system in place will cause obvious growing pains. I think Syracuse should easily get 4 wins, and then build on that next season, but it seems unlikely this year Syracuse would get to a Bowl Game. And Syracuse is probably only going to beat Wake Forest and Boston College in conference again.

 

Fri. September 2

Colgate

W

Fri. September 9

Louisville

L

Sat. September 17

South Florida

L

Sat. September 24

@ UConn

W

Sat. October 1

Notre Dame*

L

Sat. October 8

@ Wake Forest

W

Sat. October 15

Virginia Tech

L

Sat. October 22

@ Boston College

W

Sat. November 5

@ Clemson

L

Sat. November 12

NC State

L

Sat. November 19

Florida State

L

Sat. November 26

@ Pittsburgh

L

* In East Rutherford, NJ at MetLife Stadium

And we thank @BH_Orange44 for our Season Outlook Q&A at All Sports Discussion!!  Make sure you follow him!!

Make sure you follow the All Sports Discussion Twitter account at @AllSportsDACC and please like our Facebook Page


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