2019 Syracuse Orange Football Predictions and Odds to Win National Championship
Dino Babers is quietly doing a spectacular job coaching Syracuse. Two years ago, his team went just 4-8 but pulled off that amazing upset of Clemson. Last year they took a massive leap forward, going 10-3 and recording the first double-digit win season for the program since 2001. Last year was his third year at Syracuse, so it took him one more year to pull off the turnaround than it did for him at Eastern Illinois or Bowling Green. But now we are in unfamiliar ground - Babers left his last two jobs right after the turnaround, so we've never seen if he can follow it up. The Orange are in an unfortunate situation - they are in the ACC Atlantic, so they would need an absolute miracle to even steal spot in the ACC title game because of Clemson. If they were in the Coastal, they would be in much better shape - they had the same conference record as Atlantic winner Pitt last year. But geography is what it is, and all the team can do is maximize what they can control.
2018 in a Nutshell
The team got off to a very strong start, matching their prior season's win total in the first four games after beating Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, then beating up on Wagner, Florida State and UConn. Then they played at Clemson and played the Tigers as tough as anyone did last year, losing by just four points. Then they lost at Pitt in overtime but came back next time out to beat North Carolina in overtime. That was the start of a second four-game winning streak, as they also beat NC State, Wake Forest and Louisville. They got smoked by Notre Dame in Yankee Stadium - their second loss to an eventual playoff team - but bounced back to overwhelm Boston College to finish off the regular season. They earned a date with West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl, winning handily in what proved to be Dana Holgorsen's last game with the Mountaineers.
Key Additions and Departures
Syracuse had only one player drafted, and only barely - just nine guys were selected after DT Chris Slayton went to the Giants in the seventh round. That isn't the only significant loss, though. Eric Dungey was a four-year starter at QB and was very dangerous with his legs as much as his arm. He'll be replaced by sophomore Tommy DeVito, who won two games last year when called into action. He's a talented guy, but it means a big shift in style, as DeVito is a big pocket passer, and Dungey liked to make things happen on the run. The team also lost both starting tackles and a guard. They added a veteran presence at tackle, though, in South Alabama grad transfer Ryan Alexander, who will likely protect DeVito's blind side. And they also lost receiver Jamal Custis, an outside receiver who had excellent chemistry as the favorite target of Dungey.
On defense, the biggest story is that they lost both inside linebackers. They have two seniors to step in for them, but neither is nearly as experienced as you would hope.
Babers did not see a boost in recruiting from the breakout season. The class was ranked 55th in the consensus rankings, which was actually down from 50th the year before. There are no four-or five-stars in the class, and the top recruit, linebacker Lee Kpogba, was ranked just 432nd nationally.
Biggest Area of Concern
Quarterback. Babers is an Art Briles disciple, so success of the team relies heavily on the play of the QB. DeVito isn't a prototypical Briles QB, and he's a far different, less mobile QB than what they have had. If he doesn't grasp the system quickly, then the team could have issues. The team lost a bit of a safety net as Chance Amie, a dual-threat QB who didn't play last year but seemed to be a better fit for Babers' plans, transferred to Blinn College, one of the collegiate homes of Cam Newton, in January.
Syracuse Orange Schedule Analysis
Oddly, the team opens with two road games - at Liberty, and at Maryland. After they return home - hopefully at 2-0 - they face a huge test, as Clemson arrives in town. The team has shown that they have no fear against the Tigers. Western Michigan and Holy Cross should be easy games, and at NC State, Pitt, at Florida State, Boston College, at Duke, at Louisville and Wake Forest are all reasonable games. Only the Clemson game is truly tough, and Syracuse has a better chance than most. And the rest of the games are all winnable if the Orange are on their game. They could have a much, much worse schedule.
2019-20 Syracuse Orange Betting Odds and Trends
BetOnline has Syracuse at +20000 to win the national title, which has them tied with Missouri as the second longest shot among the 27 listed teams. Only Kentucky, at +50000, is a longer shot. Bovada has them tied with Florida State and Virginia Tech as the third choices to win the ACC at +2200. Clemson is the overwhelming favorite at -375, though, so the oddsmakers clearly only see things turning out one way.
2019-20 Syracuse Orange Predictions and College Football Picks
The team faces some significant changes on offense and some questions on defense. I really trust the coaching, and the schedule is solid, but they don't have enough depth as talent to make success feel certain. I feel like nine regular-season wins would be a really solid target to shoot for, and I think they can do it. None of these futures numbers are even remotely attractive, though.
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