Syracuse University, New York State’s only Power-5 conference school in college football, looked like they might leap back up to the prominence they enjoyed in the 1980s and 90s when they recorded a 10-win season in head coach Dino Babers’ third year, and that season could’ve been even better if they had held on to a 10-point lead they had on Clemson in the fourth quarter of a game that year.

The Orange, however, have struggled since–winning just 11 games total in the past three seasons. The result: Babers is now on the hotseat going into year seven at the Cuse.

Syracuse Over/Under Win Total Analysis

Going into 2022, the Orange are at +7500 at some of the best New York sportsbooks to win the ACC, which is along the lines of the longest of longshots like Duke and Georgia Tech to win the conference. So, we’ll skip over that possibility and instead focus on a debatable bet: the over-under win total.

Syracuse exceeded oddsmakers’ expectations in 2021, going 5-7 when the over-under win total was set at 4. The season, however, ended on a disappointing note.

Syracuse started the season at 5-4 with three of the losses (at Florida State, vs. Clemson, vs. Wake Forest) coming by a combined nine points. The end of the season ended up being a major disappointment, as the Orange was not competitive in their final three losses–at Louisville, at North Carolina State, and vs. Pittsburgh–even though one more win would’ve made Syracuse bowl eligible.

For 2022, sportsbooks aren’t expecting much improvement for the Orange. FanDuel and other top sportsbooks in New York have set the over-under win total on Syracuse at 4.5.

Can Tucker Carry the Orange?

After disappointing quarterback play since Eric Dungey led the team in 2018, Babers has brought in offensive coordinator Robert Anae and QB coach Jason Beck from Virginia in hopes to bring the passing game to life under dual-threat QB Garrett Shrader. All-America running back Sean Tucker also returns, coming off a year where he finished just shy of 1,500 yards on the ground (6.1 yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns.

The production would’ve likely been even more if the Orange didn’t fall behind fast against Louisville and Pittsburgh down the stretch, keeping Tucker’s carries limited. A young defense will loom large for the Orange this year to make sure that they keep their team in games so that Tucker can be a difference-maker.

Schedule Working Against Syracuse

The team opens the season at home vs. Louisville, looking to avenge last year’s 41-3 blowout in Kentucky. We’ll learn a lot about the Orange in this game. If they can hang with the Cardinals or even win, they will be better set up to win five or more games.

Of the four non-conference games, two should be wins (at UConn, home vs. Wagner), but the other two will be difficult even though both will take place at the stadium formerly known as the Carrier Dome (now the JMA Wireless Dome): vs. Purdue (9-4 last year) on Sept. 17 and vs. fifth-ranked Notre Dame (11-2 last year) on Oct. 29.

After Week 5, Cuse will have played three of the four non-conference games plus Louisville and Virginia–all at home except for the UConn game. If the Orange can be 3-2 at that point, that’s about the only chance they will have to reach the over, as the rest of their schedule is quite difficult.

Oct. 15vs. (13) North Carolina State9-3 (6-2 ACC)
Oct. 22at (4) Clemson10-3 (6-2)
Oct. 29vs. (5) Notre Dame11-2
Nov. 5at (17) Pittsburgh11-3 (8-1)
Nov. 12vs. Florida State5-7 (4-4)
Nov. 19at (22) Wake Forest11-3 (7-2)
Nov. 25at Boston College6-6 (2-6)

Of those ACC opponents, the Orange went 1-5 against them last year, and they will likely be underdogs in all seven of the games listed. The Cuse beat BC last year, but this year’s game will be on the road.

If Syracuse can be at 3-2 after the first five games, a 2-5 mark in this chunk of the schedule would get them to five wins and the over, but we’re not hopeful of that happening based on the seemingly improved quality of the league overall.

Prediction: 4-8 (under 4.5 wins)

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