2022 Syracuse Orange Preview

by Matt Fargo

Syracuse Orange

2021-22 Season Record 5-7 (2-6 ACC Atlantic) - 8-4-0 ATS - 5-7-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 9
Defense - 8

Overview

As part of the early years of the Big East Conference, Syracuse was a mainstay throughout the season being ranked in the AP Poll, numerous times in the top ten with its highest finish being No. 6 in 1992. After the 2001 season, things started falling apart under head coaches Paul Pasqualoni and Greg Robinson and they had to vacate 11 wins from 2004-2006. Since then, it has been a lot of averageness with 16 of the last 20 seasons resulting in .500 or worse records. Current head coach Dino Babers was a hot commodity coming out of Bowling Green and after a pair of 4-8 seasons, he got the Orange back to winning with a 10-3 record in 2018 but it has now been three straight losing seasons and Babers is clearly on the hot seat. Last season, they opened 5-4 with three losses by three points and then lost their last three games to miss a bowl. Now is the time with a loaded roster.

Offense

Babers knows his offense and he got it rolling in that 2018 season but Syracuse has been unable to sustain it and it finished No. 94 in total offense and No. 91 in scoring offense but those rankings should go up this season if things go as planned. Quarterback Garrett Shrader is a duel threat that will be the opening game starter after starting the last nine games last season but there is competition behind him. He threw for just 1,444 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions but he was not expected to make many plays with his arm as he rushed for 781 yards and 14 touchdowns, second most in the ACC. Coupled with running back Sean Tucker who rushed for 1,496 yards and 12 touchdowns, the Orange had the No. 18 ranked rushing offense in the nation. An improved offensive line will bolster that again and while young, the receiving corps has plenty of options.

Defense

Syracuse quietly had a great defense last season as it finished No. 24 overall and second in the ACC but gave up too many points when it did not need to as it was No. 68 in scoring. The Orange are loaded once again but there are some holes to fill yet there is a lot of experience with a returning production ranking of No. 17. The linebacking corps will be one of the best in the conference once again as Mikel Johnson, who was the leading tackler, Stefon Thompson and Marlowe Wax accounted for 248 tackles and 14.5 sacks and this unit can take them as far as they want to go. They sit behind a defensive line that is very young all the way through with just one upperclassman in the nine-player, three-deep chart but they should come together. The secondary is built around a pair of solid corners in Garrett Williams and Darian Chestnut with safety getting help from transfers.

2022 Season Outlook

It has been a poor run of late but Babers was given one more chance as his team was one of the youngest in the country last season and if all goes right, or at least some of it does, this could be a future player in the ACC. More balance is needed on offense and if Shrader can execute, it could be a surprisingly big season for Syracuse. It will all come down to a good start with the first half of the schedule in their favor although it will not be easy. Five of the first six games are at home with the lone road game at a bad Connecticut team. Included are three ACC games against Louisville, Virginia and NC State as well as Purdue, none of which are easy. The second half is brutal with games at Clemson, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest and home games against Notre Dame and Florida St. The O/U Win total is set at 5 and this one is tricky as if the Orange can hold serve at home, the over is there.  

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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