Last season began as a magical one for the Syracuse Orange. Looking like a football team that was going to defy the odds.
SU began 2022 with a big primetime victory over ACC-foe Louisville. The Orange dominated the Cardinals 31-7 and made a statement that they were a real threat in the conference.
From that point, Syracuse broke loose. SU went on to start 6-0, and that included a win against ranked NC State in the JMA Wireless Dome. After a loss to Clemson the next week, Syracuse’s first of the season, it went on to lose five straight. The Orange went 1-5 in their remaining six contests and finished 2022 7-5. Syracuse then lost to Minnesota in the Pinstripe Bowl in late December.
After 2022, the program saw a lot of turnover–both on the roster and with its coaching staff. Defensive back Garrett Williams, offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron, linebacker Mikel Jones, and running back Sean Tucker all went on to the NFL. Defensive backs Ja’Had Carter and Duce Chestnut transferred out of Syracuse.
On top of the graduates and transfers, offensive coordinator Robert Anae left SU to go to NC State, and defensive coordinator Tony White went to Nebraska. SU’s quarterbacks coach, Jason Beck, was promoted to offensive coordinator, and head coach Dino Babers went out and hired Rocky Long as the new defensive coordinator.
With so many departures, there are a lot of questions surrounding Syracuse before the 2023 season. Here are some bets to keep an eye out for ahead of the upcoming football season.
Can Syracuse Football Exceed Odds Expectations?
With such a strong start to last year’s season, there was so much potential. However, the struggles toward the end of the year make the odds more skeptical.
There are still a lot of key pieces from last year’s squad on the team this season. Quarterback Garrett Shrader got injured midway through 2022 and was forced to miss time. The offense, under Robert Anae, struggled because of the loss of the signal caller. Shrader is fully expected to be healthy to start 2023.
The key with Shrader is his weapons. Running back LeQuint Allen is in line to be the starting running back. The halfback started in the Pinstripe Bowl and had over 100 total yards. Plus, Oronde Gadsden II is back as a pass-catcher for Shrader and led SU with 969 receiving yards. Gadsden is also a member of the Preseason All-ACC team.
On the other side of the ball, the defensive back group is thin given the departures of three starters, but a key starter in linebacker Marlowe Wax finds himself in a new role. Wax will need to fill the void of Mikel Jones as a vocal leader, and defensive coordinator Rocky Long will make the transition easy given he runs a system similar to last year’s DC in Tony White.
Syracuse should start 2-0 with wins over Colgate and Western Michigan. Furthermore, SU plays Purdue, a team it beat last season, and the Boilermakers are under a new head coach in Ryan Walters. That could very well be three wins to start the season. The ACC gauntlet will be tough for the Orange, but they take on Boston College toward the end of the season. Syracuse has beaten BC in each of the last two seasons.
Syracuse to Win the ACC Championship (+8000)
With no divisions, and Syracuse facing tough odds to win the necessary six games to even make a bowl game, it is hard to imagine Syracuse will win the ACC title, let alone be in the championship game.
However, Clemson at +150, Florida State at +175, and North Carolina at +1000 (all at Caesars Sportsbook) are good teams to identify with a true chance at a conference title. Syracuse plays all of those teams in 2023, and two of those matchups are on the road.
The conference is loaded with talent, and Syracuse has to play Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Virginia Tech all in a row. It will be a heavy test for the Orange that will be difficult to pass.