Football

Beat writers discuss 2017 season predictions

Paul Schlesinger | Asst. Photo Editor

The SU football team is looking to improved upon its last three years, a period during which the Orange won 11 games.

With the 2017 Syracuse football season set to begin Friday night, beat writers Joe Bloss, Sam Fortier, Matthew Gutierrez and Tomer Langer explain their predictions. The Orange, led by second-year head coach Dino Babers, open Sept. 2 in the Carrier Dome and begin conference play Sept. 30 at North Carolina State. SU owns one of the nation’s toughest schedules.

Joe Bloss
Two is better than one

Record: 6-6
MVP: Eric Dungey
X-Factor: health

Each of Dino Babers’ previous head coaching gigs have seen improved results in Year 2. This one will be no different. Syracuse will lose some ugly games to very good teams, but take care of business against its nonpowerhouse opponents. A thin injury report will be key. See you at the TK Bowl.

Sam Fortier
Taking care of business

Record: 5-7
MVP: Zaire Franklin
X-Factor: Defensive line

There are five games on Syracuse’s schedule that it has an “OK” to “good” chance of winning: Central Connecticut, Middle Tennessee, Central Michigan, Wake Forest and Boston College. There are five “ha, good one” games: at Louisiana State, Clemson, at Florida State, at Miami and at Louisville. This leaves two tough but winnable games: home against Pittsburgh and at North Carolina State. A tough schedule strains the Orange enough to put it on the wrong side of those contests, but Dino Babers’ offense lives up to the hype in Year 2. Overall, Syracuse wins the games it should.

Matthew Gutierrez
Here I Go Again

Record: 4-8
MVP: Eric Dungey
X-Factor: Defensive line

Queue Whitesnake’s flagship song, “Here I Go Again,” as Syracuse football embarks on another season that leaves fans yearning for basketball season well before November. A winning record and bowl eligibility, both of which have eluded the program since 2013, will elude SU at least one or two more years. One of the nation’s toughest schedules allows the Orange no room for error. This team will be considerably better than that of last year, but SU finishes the year 1-8 after a 3-0 start.

Tomer Langer
Not quite there

Record: 5-7
MVP: Zaire Franklin
X-Factor: Secondary

I don’t doubt that this year’s team will be better than last year’s team. But that improvement might not necessarily make a dent in the wins column with the tough nonconference schedule on top of an always-daunting ACC slate. We know what this offense can do, and as long as Dungey is healthy, it should keep clicking. The secondary was ravaged by injury last season, but veteran safety Antwan Cordy is back and the entire unit is confident heading into the season. Whether it can live up to that confidence will be vital.

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