Syracuse Orange football: Way too early schedule impressions

Syracuse Orange football: Way too early schedule impressions

The 2023 Syracuse Orange football schedule was unveiled last night, and our beat writers have some initial reactions to the opposition SU faces in the fall:

Hardest stretch

Mike: Now we’re back to the front-loaded OOC schedule, and there’s a serious jump in difficulty to start playing ACC. The Orange are thrown right into the fire by hosting Clemson, then traveling to North Carolina and Florida State. It could easily be a repeat of the season-killing stretch of Clemson, Notre Dame and Pitt starting in 2022.

Christian: Opening the ACC slate at home against Clemson and following it up with road games against UNC and FSU is absolutely brutal. Neither of those teams seem to have regressed all that much either, making this stretch a nightmare for a Syracuse team that lost some key pieces in the offseason.

Kevin: I’ll go the other way here and say this is the stretch that sees the Orange on the road at Purdue, followed by Army and Clemson. You have the first road game of the season, followed by trying to prepare for a triple-option offense, and then getting Clemson. Unlike the start of the ACC season, this is a stretch where Syracuse likely needs to go 2-1 to keep bowl hopes alive.

Upset Alert

Mike: The obvious answer here is Clemson. Two straight years of falling just short against the Tigers means there’s even more incentive to get it done in front of a sold-out Dome crowd. Starting conference play with a statement win will go a long way in getting the fanbase involved and boosting ‘Cuse’s confidence through the roof.

Ken Ruinard / USA TODAY Network

Christian: Wake Forest will come to the Dome after a rough two-week stretch where the Demon Deacons play NC State and Notre Dame. We know how physical both of those teams are and it’s not going to be easy coming to Central New York after those two games. Remember: the Orange took advantage of that with Wake Forest ending the season against Syracuse in 2019. A similar situation could happen this season.

Kevin: I’ll go with Pitt. Orange gave up a home game against a team they have struggled with lately. Looking at the schedule, Syracuse could enter this game with 5 wins, so it could be the difference between a chance to get to 8, or sitting at home during the ball season.

Trap Game

Mike: Army’s ground-and-pound philosophy isn’t a good matchup for Syracuse, which struggled mightily to stop the run in the second half of last season. The game sits between the first road game of the year and Clemson, so there’s also the risk of a team both hurting from the previous week and looking ahead to the circled date on the calendar. Coach Long is the Godfather of the 3-3-5, but he may have to go with a different look to effectively counter the stacked Army line.

Christian: Given past seasons, you wouldn’t expect Virginia Tech to give the Orange too many problems. However, two factors are beginning to swing this game in the Hokies’ favor. First, a weeknight game at Lane Stadium will have a fierce crown on hand. I can’t remember the last time Syracuse played a Thursday night game. Second and most importantly, this game comes after the Orange bye week. I detailed Syracuse’s struggles under Dino Babers after a bye week. After last season’s win against a Devin Leary-less NC State, his record stands at 3-6. Heading out into a cauldron of chaos won’t help.

Kevin: Georgia Tech is one game that most fans are probably going to overlook. Going from all the hype surrounding playing in Yankee Stadium to a road game against a program looking to bounce back means this is a game that could present more trouble than expected.

What are you most/least excited about with this year’s football schedule?

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